Monrovia — The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) and the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) Tuesday (Nov 26) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for collaboration on the payment of license fees by lawyers.
Under the Mou, lawyers will have to pay their licenses fees to the LRA and submit genuine receipts to the LNBA before they are licensed legally to practice law in the country.
LRA Commissioner General Thomas Doe Nah and LNBA President Tiawan Gongloe signed the MOU at the headquarters of the LRA in Paynesville Outside Monrovia.
Speaking briefly before signing the MoU, Cllr. Gongloe underscored the importance of the legal profession and indicated that the licensing of lawyers before practicing will ensure a high level of professionalism and will guarantees that only the right people will practice law in the country.
"We know that the LRA has the statutory responsibility to collect taxes including licenses fees. We know that the medical dental association gives license to its members, we want to do the same too. We are not taking away the license fees. We want to know our professional members. There are some people who come and say they are lawyers and they just pay their license fees and go ahead to practice. We want to elevate our profession in the eyes of the general public that people who are lawyers actually represent people. And
one of the ways of doing it is to make sure that we license our own people," Cllr. Gongloe noted.
The LNBA president said the Bar will authorize [lawyers] to come and pay and then we will issue them licenses. In that way, the LRA will serve the interest of the LNBA, while the LNBA will also serve the interest of the LRA and the Public." He said this will enable the LNBA to scrutinize the credentials and abilities of lawyers.
CG Nah, for his part welcomed the initiative and stressed that bulk of the work of the LRA was based on legal reliance. "Much of what is done at LRA has foundation in legality. We agree with you that the right people should practice law. We want to implement the law, but also our taxpayers should be duly represented. The MOU is in both of us interests."
He described the MOU as "a good decision" and hoped for a stronger collaboration with the LNBA going forward.
"We are hoping to even forge a stronger partnership where we can come to the Bar and talk about taxation, and where you can also get involved with us," the CG noted, adding, "We have similar relationship with the tax practitioners and it would be good to have the same with the Bar Association."
CG Nah expressed optimism that the MOU and other engagement with the LNBA "will allow us in raising additional revenue. Raising revenue is at the core of our work as every dime counts."
LNBA Secretary General Cllr. Bobby W. Livingstone and LRA Counsels Max Duncan and Gabriel Johnson witnessed the occasion.