Time past for Banks DIH GYD$28 billion court case against GRA – Attorney General

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 January 2017, 12:40 by Denis Chabrol

Banks DIH Limited’s High Court action to claim GYD$28.4 billion in purported mistakenly paid consumption taxes and interest was Wednesday knocked down by Attorney General, Basil Williams on the grounds that time has long passed for the company to take action against the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).

Stressing that he was improperly named as a defendant by the company because the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has already ruled that the GRA is an independent institution and not a government department, Williams said he and his team were confident that the case would be won.

The Attorney General said the tax laws gives taxpayers three months within which to file a court case against the GRA. “You can’t sit on case and hope that the cost would keep increasing and keep increasing and then you come ten years later,” he said.

Against the background of the CCJ ruling about the jurisdiction of the Attorney General in GRA matters, Williams was asked whether he would not be conducting any assessment or analysis of the case given the possibility of the State having to pay more than GYD$20 billion to Banks DIH.

“I would give all any assistance that is necessary in protecting the government’s coffers, the taxpayers’ coffers and we are very confident that the case would be a proper case,”  the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs told a news conference.

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.