Saturday, June 23, 2018

High Court defers hearing into GBX Logistics tax dodge petition

  • Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2018-03-10 11:41:32 BdST

bdnews24

The High Court has deferred the hearing into the petition accusing GBX Logistics, the local agent of international container shippers Hapag-Lloyd, of dodging millions in taxes and money laundering until Apr 1.

GBX’s lawyers say the petition was deferred because it was suspected that a petition from the same plaintiff regarding the matter had previously been settled.

A lawyer named Motiur Rahman filed the petition against GBX Logistics and had previously filed a similar petition that had been dismissed by the court.

The newer petition was brought before the court on Feb 11 but was adjourned for three weeks over an objection from the state.

Justice Md Moinul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Md Ashraful Kamal held a hearing on the petition on Wednesday.

“Bangladesh Bank, the Anti-Corruption Commission and the National Board of Revenue have been named in the petition,” lawyer for the petition Shaheen Khan told bdnews24.com regarding the reason for the deferment.

“But we have yet to receive a response from them regarding what actions they are taking or their opinion on the matter. The court has told the petition to send letters to these organisations.”

“The court deferred the hearing upon a request from the petitioners,” said Barrister Tanzib Ul Alam, who represented GBX Logistics.

“The court said that there was something suspicious about the petition.”

GBX Logistics Managing Director Ahmed Yusuf Walid had expressed his suspicion that some of their business rivals were behind the writ petition.

“Our competitors do many things to harass us, using lawyers,” he had told bdnews24.com.

According to the petition, GBX Logistics earned a “substantial amount of revenue” in commissions in 2014, in line with the Bangladesh Bank directives, after handling Hapag-Lloyd’s businesses.

“But instead of the 37.5 percent corporate tax, the company paid 5 percent tax at source on the revenue. They have also siphoned off the undisclosed income out of the country,” lawyer for the petition Shaheen Khan had said.

Khan said that in 2012, the then Hapag-Lloyd’s local agent, SW Shipping, earned Tk 78.1 million in commission.

“But GBX Logistics, which handled twice the business in 2014, claimed in its financial statements that it only earned Tk 50 million.”

Citing the company’s financial reports, the petition says, GBX also stated an income of Tk 81.24 million the same year from handling local businesses of Singapore-based OL and BLPL, bringing its total earnings to Tk 121.24 million.

The petition claims GBX paid Tk 8.63 million in tax at source instead of Tk 45.45 million in corporate taxes.

The petitioner served legal notices twice on the National Board of Revenue, Bangladesh Bank and the Anti-Corruption Commission urging actions.

The High Court was moved as they had not responded to it, according to the plea.