Attorney-at-law, Anil Nandlall has written to the Director of Public Prosecutions, (DPP) raising objections about the police instituting and prosecuting charges under the Tax Act against the agents of Superbet.
According to Nandlall, to date, over 30 tax charges against Superbet have been withdrawn or dismissed by Magistrates across Guyana.
The Attorney noted the most recent occurred on August 28, when Magistrate Rochelle Liverpool dismissed over a dozen of the said charges against the agents of Superbet and instructed the Police to not refile the said charges without first obtaining the advice of the DPP.
Nandlall in his capacity as Attorney of the Guiana Holding Inc., a limited liability company under which Superbet operates, informed the DPP in a correspondence, that over one hundred and fifty Superbets across the country and their operations are a primary source of income for their agents and families.
The lawyer said that over the past two weeks, the Guyana Police Force (GPF) has embarked upon a campaign of charging over twenty-five agents of Superbet with committing the offence of “carrying on a betting shop in unlicensed premises in contravention of Section 8(7) and contrary to Section 8(9)(d) of the Tax Act, Chapter 80:01.”
At the hearing of the said complaints, Nandlall said following submissions by the DPP’s Chambers, the Magistrates have either dismissed the charges or indicated an intention to do so.
He explained, “In the latter case, the Police Prosecutors have withdrawn the said charges after the Magistrates indicated their intention to dismiss the said charges. In the other cases, the Magistrates have adjourned the hearing of the charges to permit the Police Prosecutors to obtain legal advice although expressing their intention to dismiss the said charges.”
The lawyer therefore submitted to the DPP that the Police neither the Attorney General shall bring tax charges against the operators, since the laws are clear that in the GRA resides the exclusive authority to institute charges in relation to alleged offences against tax laws and to prosecute those charges.
“Similarly, the GRA has its own legal department staffed with lawyers who are tasked with the responsibility of prosecuting charges instituted under the tax laws as well as representing the GRA in civil proceedings, as opposed to the Attorney General. In fact, Judges have repeatedly admonished lawyers from the AG’s Chambers who attempt to appear for the GRA.
These charges are not police cases but are rather tax cases under the purview and ambit of the GRA,” Nandlall stressed.
Additionally, the lawyer claimed that, “Indeed the GRA has indicated that they have not instituted these charges, nor have they instructed anyone else, including the police to institute these charges against the agents of our client”.
“For avoidance of doubt, we are also attaching a letter sent by the Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit to our client informing them that the “Guyana Revenue Authority will continue to carry out its traditional licensing function with respect to all Betting Shops. This letter serves to confirm that our client’s operations fall under the ambit and purview of the Revenue Authority…”
In the circumstances, Nandlall requested that the DPP intervene, and discontinue the charges under the provisions of Article 187 of the Constitution or that the relevant advice be disseminated to achieve this objective and to avoid future charges being instituted.
“If not, we will be faced with no alternative but to institute legal proceedings in the High Court seeking, inter alia, an Order or Writ of Mandamus against your good office, since these charges continue to be instituted,” the attorney indicated in the letter.
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