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General News Tue, 16 Jul 2019

Obinim drags GRA to court over non-payment of rent taxes owed the state

Bishop Daniel Obinim, the Founder of the International Godsway Church, has dragged the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to court after the revenue agency took possession of his Fidelity Bank account due to non-payment of rent taxes owed the state.

The GRA placed a lien on Obinim’s account for allegedly failing to pay GH¢769,095.87 in taxes on his block of 21 units of shop situated at Tema and a guest house in Accra.

It is the case of Obinim that he has paid all the taxes on the properties and therefore the move by the GRA to take possession of his account is unlawful.

According to the plaintiff, the move by GRA to take possession of his account was unlawful.

Reliefs

In his suit filed at the Accra High Court by his counsel, Ralph Poku Adusei, Bishop Obinim is seeking nine reliefs.

Among them are "a declaration that, the Plaintiff has paid all taxes due and demanded by 1st Defendant [GRA] from the Plaintiff in respect of rents taxes payable on the Twenty-One (21) shops for the period of 2014 to 2018 and that; he does not owe in taxes, the sum of Seven Hundred and Sixty-Nine Thousand, Ninety-Five Ghana Cedis, Eighty-Seven Pesewas (GHC 769,095.87) purportedly representing rents taxes payable on the Block of Twenty-One".

Furthermore Bishop Obinim is seeking "an order to set aside and/or strike out the Garnishment Notice issued at 10 am, 27th day of June 2019 by the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority; 1st Defendant herein, directed at the 2nd Defendant [Fidelity Bank] to pay to the 1st Defendant the sum of Seven Hundred and Sixty-Nine Thousand, Ninety-Five Ghana Cedis, Eighty-Seven Pesewas (GHC769,095.87) as being unlawful".

It is also the prayer of Bishop Obinim that that "an order for perpetual injunction restraining the 2nd Defendant [Fidelity Bank] from placing lien on the Plaintiff's bank accounts and from paying of any funds held in the Plaintiff's bank accounts and fixed deposits to the 1st Defendant in respect of the Garnishment Notice issued at 10am, 27th day of June 2019 by the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority, 1st Defendant herein and in respect of any future Garnishment Notice in respect of the same rents taxes payable on the Block of Twenty-One (21) units of shops for the period of 2014 to 2018 and also payment of any Value Added Tax (VAT) due and owed by Abroso Guest House Limited (if any) without recourse to a Court order".

Additionally, Bishop Obinim is seeking "an order directed at the 2nd Defendant [Fidelity Bank] to remove any lien and/or charge placed on Plaintiff's funds in his bank accounts a and all other fixed deposit investment held with the 2nd Defendant and make all/same accessible to the Plaintiff as well as Punitive Damages against the 1st Defendant for unlawful issuance of the Garnishment Notice".

Statement of case

The GRA on December 18 2018, wrote to Bishop Obinim demanding payment of alleged tax liability of the sum of GH¢719,890.00 on the two properties.

The Plaintiff states that prior to the issuance of the above-stated demand letter, on or around July 2018, the GRA conducted audit and assessment on him in respect of the same rents taxes payable on the same properties.

As a result of the said audit exercise, the GRA concluded that the Plaintiff's tax liability for the period of 2014 to 2018 was GH¢769,095.87

He argued that he effected payment of all the outstanding rent taxes to the GRA and he has been issued with receipts.

According to him, it was, therefore a shock to when Fidelity Bank denied him access to his funds on June 3, 2019, when he attempted to make a withdrawal

He said the bank informed him that it had received a demand notice in a form of garnishment issued by the Commissioner-General of the GRA compelling them to prevent him from accessing his personal funds of some GHc 769,095.87.

Lawyers for Obinim and the GRA are expected to present their respective cases at the court on July 24, 2019.

Source: Graphic.com.gh
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