Thursday, November 3, 2011

Differentiate between financial criminals and taxpayers: PAC

Lawmakers today asked the government to differentiate between ‘financial criminals’ and taxpayers, and treat them accordingly.
Speaking at the meeting of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) under Legislature Parliament today, the committee member and former Finance Minister Dr Prakash Chandra Lohani said that refund of VAT amount from business firms is not enough, if they have cheated national coffer by producing fake VAT bills.
“Can the state let robbers scot-free, if they return stolen-stuff,” he questioned, adding that VAT defaulters are like robbers and they should not be treated like ‘taxpayers’.
Currently, Finance Ministry is charging only tax and fine to those who have cheated national coffer, he said, “Which is not sufficient since producing false bills is a financial crime.”
“It is peoples’ right to know the names of all those involved in the VAT fraud ‘crime’ since these people tried to rob common peoples’ money by producing fake VAT bills,” Lohani added.
Most of the lawmakers demanded prison to all those involved in VAT fraud scam. “Big houses defrauded billions to government,” committee member Dhan Raj Gurung said, adding that it is the matter of shame that big houses also robbed national coffer that was collected from ordinary and poor citizen-paid tax. The government has refunded VAT amount to these fake traders. It is a serious crime and all of them should be sent to jail like a criminal involved in ‘fake currency’, he clarified.
Another member of the committee Shankar Pokharel demanded thorough probe whether the entrepreneurs were misguided or they intentionally tried to misguide the revenue authority. “The involvement of bureaucracy should also be probed, he said, adding that the state should not exempt those who cheated national treasury by producing false transaction and submitting false VAT invoices.
However, lawmaker Keshab Nepal doubted government’s ability to take action against them. “It is serious financial crime against state,” he said, urging the Finance Ministry to separate between taxpayers and criminals.
Lawmaker Tulsi Subba demanded the government to declare it as a ‘national crime’. “The state should prohibit all firms and enterprises involved in the scam from further transaction,” he added.
Despite the hot discussion today the Public Accounts Committee could not reach into any decision. Some of the PAC members also showed dissatisfaction over the committee itself for its indecision. A committee member from the largest and ruling party doubted the committee’s ability to take any decision.
Similarly, representatives from National Information Commission defended people’s right to information. “People have right to know how the government is spending their hard earned money paid as tax,” chief information commissioner Binay Kasajoo said.

Probe against 372 firms over
KATHMANDU: Inland Revenue Department (IRD) has completed the investigation of 372 firms out of 518 firms, according to finance secretary Krishna Hari Baskota. From them the department has collected Rs 3.49 billion including tax and fine, he said, adding that the ministry is committed to take action against all business firms involved in the VAT evasion.

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