Liberia Revenue Authority Confirms Dutch International Group IDH Has Been Dodging Taxes
Monrovia – The Liberia Revenue Authority has confirmed to FrontPageAfrica that a Dutch organization, IDH Sustainable Trade, which is operating in the country has been evading taxes in the amount of hundreds of thousands of United States dollars.
IDH, which operates mainly in Western, North-Western and South-eastern Liberia, was accused of defrauding the Liberian government of needed taxes including withholding and Income taxes for the past four years.
When FPA contacted the LRA, its Manager for Communications, Media and Public Affairs, D Kaihenneh Sengbeh confirmed the allegation.
Wrote Sengbeh to FPA in a text message: “An analysis of our data shows that the Dutch company you asked about has not been tax compliant. However, of late, they have made contacts with the LRA, thru an agent, towards settling all tax obligations in the coming days or weeks. Failure to do so will require enforcement actions as required by law.”
However, the LRA did not disclose the amount that the organization owes the government, but sources have said that it may be hundreds of thousands of US dollars.
Details about the organization alleged tax evasion were exposed by a whistleblower within the Liberia Revenue Authority, who asked not to be named.
The source, who is knowledgeable of the workings of the International NGO, told FPA that it is bent on raising tens of millions of United States Dollars in the name of helping Liberians in the country’s oil palm sector but has been dodging the payment of lawful taxes.
The whistleblower says IDH has not paid a dime in taxes for the last four years, revealing that the organization is operating from KIA Motors’ Congo Town office without a sign-board to locate the institution because of fear that they might be tracked by the Liberian government.
When contacted on the matter, IDH, through its Liberia’s office, could neither confirm nor deny the accusation but told reporters that it was transferring the inquiries to its headquarters in the Netherlands.
The government of The Netherlands supports IDH to accelerate market transformation towards sustainable supply chains. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has granted IDH an additional €100 million for the period 2015-2020 to co-fund private sector investments in sustainable market transformation in 11 commodity sectors.
The Dutch government also granted IDH € 20 million for the period 2015-2020 to pilot a landscape approach in six resource vulnerable landscapes. Since 2015, this landscape approach is also funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).
In South East Liberia, IDH links smallholder palm oil producers with conserving forests and reducing poverty. According to IDH, it was with the Liberian government, Golden Veroleum Liberia or GVL, a palm oil company and the local community.
This means providing financial and technical support for communities to become palm oil out growers in exchange for protecting forests.
Specifically, IDH notes it develop out growers’ models, fundraise for it and help put in place structures that are needed to make it work.
By 2020, the program would have developed over 8,000 hectares of sustainable out-grower oil palm farms and protect 70,000 hectares of forest. However, the organization’s failure to pay taxes has raised eyebrows about its commitment to aiding Liberia’s development agenda.
Liberian President George Weah recently admonished international companies operating in Liberia to pay their taxes to so as to enable the government meet up with its development agenda.