About 10 days ago, the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) issued a letter to Dipcon Engineering Services Ltd. instructing that it pays, with immediate effect, $527.8M in taxes that are owed to the State.
This move came just after the local court called for Finance Minister Winston Jordan to pay over US$2.2M to Dipcon or be imprisoned for 21 days. Jordan was spared any jail time, however, after President David Granger issued a stay of respite to halt the execution of the court’s punishment until all appeals and remedies available to Jordan and the State have been exhausted.
But the subsequent move by the revenue authority did not find favour in some quarters, specifically as it relates to the People’s Progressive Party (PPP). In fact, the PPP criticised GRA for acting in a political manner. But GRA Commissioner-General Godfrey Statia made it clear recently that this is not the case.
During an interview with radio announcer Stan Gouveia on the programme called the Hot Seat, Statia noted that he wrote Jordan since last year informing him of the taxes owed by Dipcon. The tax chief said that the Finance Minister was subsequently taken to court.
Furthermore, Statia stressed that Dipcon is no longer operating in Guyana. Therefore, if it collects its judgment from the State, there is essentially no guarantee that GRA would be able to collect the outstanding taxes.
“If they collect their judgment and walk away what would GRA get? So this is not something that occurred two days ago. I would like to allay all fears that this matter is political,” the tax chief iterated.
Additionally, the tax chief debunked claims by the PPP General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo that Granger’s Order of Respite in defence of Jordan, and the move by GRA to demand the payment of taxes from Dipcon, send a bad signal to investors.
The Commissioner-General insists that if Jagdeo were President, “he would have backed me on this same issue.”