COURT IMPOSES PENALTIES ON TWO OFFENDERS FOR COC FRAUD


November 30, 2021 - 1239 views

Two individuals had been fined by the Waigani District Court last Thursday (25 November 2021) for producing, issuing, and possessing a fraudulent Certificate of Compliance (COC). 

The fake COC was produced by an employee of the Internal Revenue Commission (IRC), Anthony Mayoli, in exchange for a K3,000 bribe he received from a taxpayer, one Evaristo Masiu, in January 2021. Mr Mayoli was terminated, followed by the commencement of the prosecution proceedings at the District Court. The proceedings were instituted under section 354 (T) (a) (b) of the Income Tax Act 1959. 

In a precedent-setting decision, the District Court fined Mr. Mayoli and Mr. Masiu, K15,000 and K7,500, respectively. Failure to pay these amounts within two months will result in six months imprisonment.  

The Court’s decision does not preclude the Commissioner-General from pursuing this matter criminally under section 462 and 463 of the Criminal Code Act 1974 for forgery and uttering. 

This decision is now the precedent and will be the starting point in the sentencing guidelines for future COC fraud and TIN Certificate-related offences. At the same time, lengthy incarceration terms and hefty fines will be considered as deterrence for this ongoing issue in the IRC.  

The Commissioner-General, Mr. Sam Koim, whilst acknowledging the Court's decision, warned officers of the IRC and Taxpayers not to ignore the tax laws but to comply with the processes already in place. “These services are free, and taxpayers should not be paying any fees to IRC Officers to bypass the processes. Any IRC officer or taxpayer caught will be jailed, and appropriate penalties will be imposed”, Mr. Koim said.  

Narrowing the revenue leakages has been at the forefront of CG Koim’s agendas when taking office in 2019. Mr. Koim assured the public that prosecution of individuals and entities involved in the tax-related offences would speed up in 2022. 

“We have been doing internal clean-up work at IRC, although some of these efforts had been constrained by the Coronavirus pandemic. Within the minimal space given by the Government, we have improved some of the staff terms and conditions on the one hand, and on the other, established robust internal integrity and control systems to detect corruption. We encourage taxpayers and the public to continue to report corruption.

 

 

Source: Statement (30/11/2021)/ Mr. Sam Koim (OBE) IRC Commissioner-General

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