9 May 2016

Liberia: No Tax Evasion - NOVAFONE Reacts; Challenges FPA for Proof

The burden of proof lies within the in the purview of FontpageAfrica Newspaper to validate their claims of the closure of the NOVAFONE GSM Company as reported by the paper since tax evasion is a serious economic crime, the management of NOVAFONE, one of Liberia’s outstanding GSM Companies has reacted a tax evasion story carried by the FPA.

At a news conference by NOVAFONE at its headquarters in Congo Town over the weekend, NOVAFONE’s Executive Vice President for Operations, Mr. Abdullah L. Kamara who rubbished the story as untrue, said NOVAFONE has not and will never engage in tax evasion practices as purported by the FPA, saying that tax evasion is illegal and is a serious economic crime under Liberian laws.
According to him, NOVAFONE has been audited more than once by the Government of Liberia and has never been accused of tax evasion practice.

Kamara explained the issue for which the Liberia Revenue Authority engaged the company as payment of license fees and not tax evasion, arguing that fees are not necessarily the same as tax fees, promising its customers best services as the company was still strong.  He noted that the company was never and has never being questioned by government or any of the relevant agencies for tax payments.  According to the NOVAFONE executive, the May 6, 2016 Frontpage Africa publication claiming “tax invasion” by the company was absolutely “false and misleading” to the extent that the management of NOVAFONE considered such act by the paper and the author of the story as “a plot to defame the reputation and corporation image of the NOVAFONE and its owners”.
He further explained that the company, NOVAFONE, over the years has built a strong investment image with the Liberian government and by that it would not engage into any act that would bring the trusted credibility of the company, its executives and owners to question.

As such, he added that the allegation printed and published against NOVAFONE by the paper was not thoroughly verified and investigated before the publication, something the company’s executive said brings to question to professional credibility of the paper and its reporter.  Mr. Kamara, wondering over the motive behind the publication and pointed out that the intent of the story could derail reputation of the GSM company and bring to question its corporate marriage thereby setting LIBTELCO against NOVAFONE.

This he maintained has the propensity to degrade this very strong public corporation that would actually bring real competition into a highly lopsided telecom market in Liberia where only two mobile operators were dominant thereby exposing consumers to price fixes, collusion among others under the disguise of freebees.

To this effect, Mr. Kamara warned that NOVAFONE is considering options against the Frontpage for its publication, although he did not state the options.  He then reiterated that the NOVAFONE has never been closed down, nor notified by Liberia Revenue Authority for any tax evasion offense as was published by the paper, pointing out that the FPA now shoulders the burden of proof to authenticate their story and prove its truthfulness to the public, adding that the issue of payment of License fees which, he said, was incorporated into a new transaction discussion with the management of LIBTELCO was since settled.


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