Haiti: Líderes Empresariais proibido de deixar o país por evasão fiscal Alegada
- Terça - feira, 4 de setembro, 2012 07:34
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (defend.ht) – A prominent businessman in Haiti was stopped from leaving the country on Monday by port authority officials at the international airport for alleged tax evasion, a charge the business leader is contesting.
Andre Apaid Jr. , who comes from a long line of family members with holdings in the industrial park of Port-au-Prince that subcontracts factories and employs thousands of workers, says he was attempting to travel abroad from the Toussaint Louverture International Airport for a business meeting when he was stopped by authorities who confiscated his passport.
Andre Apaid Jr talks to Jean Eddy Alexis for Radio Kiskeya. Anchorwoman Lilliane Pierre-Paul
Andre Apaid told journalists:
"I had an urgent trip concerning one of our enterprises and that could affect other enterprises. I was supposed to go and debate an issue today and tomorrow that is extremely important. This is an enterprise that employs many people."
"I arrived at the airport and encountered an immigration officer who produced a sheet of paper that had a lot of names on it. He told me that my name was on a list and that he had to give my passport to his supervisor, and he gave my passport to his supervisor."
"After 20 minutes, consequentially, my plane left and all the inspectors came to me, one after another, to say they regret, with much regret [the situation]."
"I told them that I was used to these types of things happening in the days of the past."
"I believe I understand where this came from."
"I simply want to give the assurance to all the media here that my family is honorable and respectful of the law and we have always paid what we are supposed to pay... What has happened here, according to - because some journalists called me while I was inside - they explained to me that they believe it has to do with this."
"Because I have not received any letters, I have not received any notices, I have not received any direct demands, I estimate the rumors that I heard this afternoon, since being in the airport in this direction, not only do I condemn them by I totally refute them."
"And I say there is something else going on here."
Apaid, a leader of the Group of 184 that worked to force former President Jean Bertrand Aristide from power in 2004, told journalists on the scene at the airport on Monday, that there was “something fishy” about the action being taken by the Haitian government against him. The businessman said “I’m part of an honorable family and respectful to the law,” adding that he has always paid his taxes and was not informed of any new obligations.
The Martelly-Lamothe administration has taken controversial steps by through the General Tax Directorate (DGI) to collect more revenues for the state, methods that have many business leaders up in arms.
On Friday, a list of 69 names of businesses, their owners and debts to the government were made public in the press. These members of the private sector, some very affluent, were placed on a no-fly list barring them from leaving the country.
Government prosecutor, Jean Renel Senatus, announced that other measures would be taken such as an interruption of utilities such as electricity, communications and water, to the residences and/or places of businesses of entities appearing on the list of 69.
Like Andrew Apaid, who believes “it is not a tax case, but another thing”, many other business leaders are challenging not only the debts that are claimed by the DGI but the fashion of methods employed by the government to recover the amounts.
In more developed countries, efforts to collect taxes are usually preceded by an exhaustive period of communication between the government and the party found not in compliance. Furthermore, before the government can take any action to sanction a business or its owners, a lawsuit is filed and both parties litigate the areas of disagreement before a judge or jury who will then decide if there is guilt.
The private sector is in a rage of the series of events being taken by the government and feel that the government is undermining its own aims of attracting investment and creating a friendly business environment in Haiti.
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