THE High Court, on Monday last, dismissed an application for a variation of a Production Order filed by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and ruled in favour of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), directing GRA’s Commissioner-General to comply with the Production Order granted by Chief Justice Roxane George-Wilshire, SC.
This is according to a press statement from the Guyana Police Force (GPF). The GPF said the initial Production Order was made by the Chief Justice on August 12 and, according to the High Court’s recent ruling, must be acted on within 14 days.
The Production Order, the GPF statement said, was granted pursuant to Section 24 of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act, Cap 10:11, seeking the production of documents in the possession of the Commissioner-General or a duly authorised officer/agent of the Guyana Revenue Authority.
Pursuant to the court order, the press statement continued, SOCU has been asking the revenue authority for the documents, which are part of investigations into money laundering involving in excess of $103,000,000.
The police statement said GRA had refused to produce same on the grounds that it was obligated to safeguard the returns declaration and other taxpayer information, in accordance with Section 23 of the Revenue Act.
According to police information on the judgement, the court emphasised that Sections 111 and 112 of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act, Cap 10:11 is clear as it supersedes Section 23 of the Revenue Act Cap. 79:04 and protects the Guyana Revenue Authority from liability where information/documents/ are produced to SOCU.
Police also said the court further ordered costs against the Guyana Revenue Authority in the sum of $75,000.