“Deo Singh called me to settle $1B owed taxes; I refused”

first_imgJagdeo fires backIt was a classic case of ‘mouth open, story jump out’ when Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Wednesday disclosed that Deo Singh, proprietor of one of Guyana’s largest Private Sector companies – DIDCO Trading Company Limited – had in fact sought to have him intervene on his behalf in order to settle almost one billion dollars in outstanding taxes owed to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).Jagdeo on Wednesday accused Singh of attempting to solicit his help in the ‘corrupt’ transaction but he refused. The matter came to the fore when Jagdeo was asked to respond to allegations that he, while as President, out of an act of vindictiveness, deliberately ordered the relevant authorities to not repair the roads adjacent to the DIDCO property in Ruimveldt, Georgetown.DIDCO owner Deo SinghJagdeo was at the time addressing members of the local media corps at his party’s Freedom House Headquarters and said that the outstanding taxes related to unpaid Value Added Tax (VAT), Corporation Taxes and even Pay As You Earn (PAYE).The former President disclosed that the matter has either been settled between the GRA and DIDCO, or is in the process of being settled and that it had in fact raised concerns within the Revenue Authority.Jagdeo used the opportunity to disclose to the media that a letter has been written and circulated within the GRA questioning the legality of any settlement with Deo Singh’s DIDCO.The former President said Deo Singh had sent him documents outlining the taxes he owed to the GRA, in order to solicit his help to have the matter settled.“I received sealed documents to talk about helping him with GRA and I said I don’t get involved in those things,” according to the former President, who sought to remind that most times, people act based on their personal motives.Jagdeo said he demitted office in 2011 but two years later, “I received several calls from the same Mr Deo Singh, saying ‘you are the only one who can help me’”.According to Jagdeo, Deo Singh asked him to “ask the Government to settle my tax matters in GRA.” He said the quantum of the money involved is close to $1 billion.“VAT was paid and not remitted close to $600 million, PAYE not remitted to GRA, collected and not remitted and then Corporate Tax… he himself told me this, he sent me documents,” according to Jagdeo.Jagdeo at this point disclosed too that “from what I gather, there was a move to settle or they have settled and a letter was written by the staff in the GRA questioning the settlement.”The former President noted that staffers at the GRA are of the position that any settlement with Deo Singh’s DIDCO would not be in keeping with the provisions in the law.He said now that Singh has been caught in the conundrum, “how do you get the Government to think favourably about you… you get the man who they probably hate the most and then you criticise him publicly.”He suggested that Singh was looking to say, “Look I have good APNU credentials; I was the victim of Jagdeo.” According to the former Head of State, the public assertions adumbrated by Singh are meant to send a signal to the coalition Government.“The things I get blamed for sometimes, I find them funny,” said Jagdeo, who was adamant that during his tenure as President, his days were pre-occupied with actual work and not deciding whose road will or will not be fixed.Jagdeo in fact claimed ignorance of knowing where Singh and others lived. It was later pointed out that the roads in question fall under the ambit of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council, meaning that Jagdeo would have had to directed the then City Mayor, Hamilton Green, to not do the roads at DIDCO – a far-fetched notion, given the level of acrimony between the two politicians.According to Jagdeo, he only held meetings once every quarter-year in order to obtain progress reports on projects both locally and foreign funded.last_img read more