Banks DIH sues GRA for GYD$28 billion; Jagdeo says he was right

Last Updated on Monday, 23 January 2017, 17:20 by Denis Chabrol

Banks DIH (Limited) has sued the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) for a total of GYD$28.4 billion in what it says are overpaid consumption taxes and interests due to a legal mistake.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Bharrat says the case by Banks DIH vindicates his stance against a settlement for Demerara Distillers Limited’s (DDL) to pay GYD$1.5 billion in consumption and excise tax to GRA instead of an assessment totaling GYD$5.3 billion. Jagdeo said that settlement amounted to GYD$12 billion based on interest.

In court papers seen by Demerara Waves Online News, Banks DIH wants the High Court to declare that it paid GYD$12.8 billion in consumption taxes between 2001 and 2006 under a mistake in law based on a Court of Appeal judgment on July 31, 2008 in relation to a High Court motion brought by DDL against GRA.

Further, Banks DIH argues that the GYD$12.8 billion was a GYD$9.09 billion overpayment of consumption taxes for the same period when compared to DDL which had only paid GYD$3.7 billion  during the same period.

Banks DIH wants the High Court to rule that Guyana “will be unjustly enriched if it were to retain” the $9,094,107,699 and a declaration that the plaintiff is entitled to repayment of that amount plus a 10 percent interest resulting in a total of GYD$28.457 billion.

Banks DIH says its calculated demand takes into account the settlement figure payable by DDL of GYD$1.5 billion under the terms of the consent order.

Alternatively, Banks DIH’s lawyers- Rex Mc Kay, Dr. Claude Denbow, Neil Boston and Donna Denbow- says it wants an Order for repayment by the Guyana government of such sum found to be overpaid by the company for consumption tax for the period 2001 to 2006 after re-assessment by the GRA>

The case was filed by December 16, 2016.

Entering an appearance on behalf of the Attorney General, Basil Williams is his Senior Legal Adviser, Judy Stuart.

Opposition Leader Jagdeo on  Monday said his previous concerns dating back to April, 2016 would incur a multi-billion debt to Guyana’s treasury because other companies would file similar claims against GRA.
“Once you make that settlement you are going to basically trigger a request for refund and it has happened now so Banks DIH is claiming $28 billion of refund only for the period 2001- 2006.

When we come to see what happened between 2006 to 2016, there could very well be another claim over maybe $30 billion more so that’s why I have always argued that a government decision that we don’t know who made so far,” he said.

The former Finance Minister and President assailed government for racking up GYD$80 billion in liabilities while  GYD$10 billion could not be found to finance the financially crippled Guyana Sugar Corporation to bring in foreign exchange from the sale of sugar.

Jagdeo also noted that the now closed Wales Sugar Estate needed GYD$1.7 billion annually to maintain its operation, but government has said it could not afford to spend that amount of money.

He said the opposition PPP has been unable to ascertain whether the Commissioner General of the GRA, the Board of Directors of GRA, the Minister or Cabinet had decided to settle the consumption tax case with DDL.

DDL is scheduled to complete payment of the GYD$1.5 billion in consumption and excise taxes in April, 2017.