The Management of Lonestar Cell/MTN has taken exception to the ruling handed in the US$19.2m tax case involving it and the Liberia Revenue Authority or LRA.
The Judge of the Tax Court, Mozart Chesson, ruled in the case on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 at the Temple of Justice, against Lonestar on procedural error and not the merit of the case. The Board of Tax Appeals had earlier ruled in a decision that Lonestar was obligated to the Government for $ 1.8M plus penalties and not the $19.2M the Government was claiming, according to the release. Both Lonestar and the government took exception to the initial ruling of the BOTA in 2014.
Lonestar Cell MTN expressed the strongest that the case was also unfairly adjudicated at the Tax court and therefore deserves an appeal hearing by the Supreme Court of Liberia- the final arbiter of Justice. The Lonestar release indicated that besides the procedural inadequacies, the pieces of evidence adduced in court by the LRA during the hearing did not merit the ruling as handed by the court, stressing that the Judge’s Decision leaves Legal Scholars pondering, especially when the substantive issue in a case was set aside and ruling made on “procedure error” not addressed.
“Others are asking why an institution once certificated by the Government of Liberia as the largest tax payer is being signaled out in a manner that could send mix messages to financial institutions,” the release noted, boasting that Lonestar Cell MTN’s financial dealings remain impeccable and replete with values such as complete accountability and integrity.
Meanwhile, Lonestar Cell MTN has described as premature the pronounced victory celebration and media campaign launched by the Liberia Revenue Authority in the wake of an appeal filed at the Supreme Court of Liberia.