Jamaica court blocks Digicel tax raid

(Jamaica Gleaner) Digicel has secured a court order barring Tax Administration Department (TAJ) from extracting information from its servers.

Late last evening, tax officials supported by police personnel with high-powered weapons, turned up at Digicel’s Grenada Way offices in New Kingston with a search order to obtain the data.

Digicel says the authorities prevented its staff from leaving the building which was upsetting for the workers.

The company also says it was concerned by the initial refusal of TAJ officials to comply with the sealed order of the Court when it was served on them.

Digicel is contending that it has been supplying the required information to the tax officials over the past months.

Our sources say the information relates to GCT payments.

However, in a statement issued late this evening Digicel provided no specific word on the nature of the information it has been providing the tax authorities.

According to Digicel, for some months, the TAJ has been conducting an audit of the information systems and data of the telecommunications sector.

“Digicel has at all times cooperated and complied with the various information requests made subject to the constraints of the Telecommunication Act in terms of the protection of confidential customer information,” a company spokesman said in the statement released late this evening.

“Digicel is shocked and offended by the abuse of process and approach undertaken by the TAJ in this matter – especially as all information which the TAJ was seeking pursuant to the order, and which the Telecommunications Act allowed Digicel to provide, had already been supplied.”

The telecommunications company has strongly refuted any form of wrongdoing emerging from what it calls a blatant witch-hunt and fishing expedition on the part of the TAJ.

Digicel has also warned that it will use every possible legal avenue to pursue those involved – both directly and indirectly – in this matter.

It says it will be returning to Court on Tuesday and will be vigorously protecting all its legal rights including asking the whether the TAJ officials are to be cited for Contempt of Court.

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