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Crime & Punishment Tue, 24 Jul 2007

Lebanese businessman arrested for refusing VAT payment

Accra, July 24, GNA - Malik Hassan, a Lebanese Assistant Director of Viva Pal Foods Limited, suppliers of assorted food has been placed in Police Custody and his assets and passport confiscated for refusing to pay his VAT returns and allegedly attempting to abscond with the debt of 365,000 GH Cedis or 3.6 billion cedis.

The VAT Service ordered his arrest on Monday. Mr Henry Brandford Sam of the Enforcement and Debt Management Unit of the Service told newsmen that the company had refused to honour its VAT obligation in spite of persistent notices. He said when the Service that had been following the operations of the Company based at Tesano in Accra and Kumasi for sometime informed Viva Pal Foods of their indebtedness it decided to operate at "obscure" hours.

According to him the Service would be compelled to auction his property if he refused to settle the debt.

Mr Anthony Ewereko Minlah, VAT Commissioner, also told GNA that Hassan's Lawyers were arranging bail for him and would be expected to report to the Police twice a day until the company's debt, penalties and the cost of the distress action were paid in full.

He stated that the Service would apply the use of distress action or any other mechanism by the law to ensure that they retrieved all debts. The Commissioner said the Service was cautious with people who defaulted, adding that, it did not enjoy confiscating the property or embarrassing any company and appealed to the public to pay their VAT returns for the government to generate more revenue for development.

Source: GNA