City moves to court over $52M in back taxes

-Ram, Kaieteur News proprietor among targets

The Mayor and City Council (M&CC) yesterday moved to the courts in an attempt to recover more than $52M in rates and interest it says is owed from 1996 to present and among those targeted are Chartered Accountant Christopher Ram and the owners of Kaieteur News.

The Kissoon and Kissoon law firm filed a total of eight matters on behalf of the Mayor and City Council in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court and they have been fixed for hearing on October 24 at 9 am. Each document was signed by attorney Sandil Kissoon.

Stabroek News understands that several notices were sent to Ram, Glen and Bhena Lall, Wraylite Engine-ering Company Limited, Wade Beckles, Clinton Rollox and Azamally and Sons Limited but they were ignored. As a result, the M&CC decided to move to the courts. They were all identified as the owners/occupiers of the properties listed in the court documents.

Ram had three matters filed against him. The first is in respect to a portion of his property at Lot 158 Waterloo Street, North Cummingsburg, for which $7,007,826 is said to be outstanding and Sub lots Lettered “C” and “D,” of Lot 157 Waterloo Street, for which $2,942,860 and $1,483,700, respectively, are said to be outstanding. All the monies represent the rates and interest owed from 1998 to 2013, according to the city’s claim.

According to the documents, Wraylite Engineering Company, owes $21, 960,397 for its Lot 1866 North Ruimveldt, Festival City property for the years 1997 to 2013; Azamally and Sons Ltd $7, 676,555 for its Lot 1/11 Werk-en-Rust property for the years 1996 to 2013; Wade Beckles $6,862,342 for his Lot 84 Robb Street, Lacytown property for the years 2000 to 2013; Clinton Rollox $2, 340,583 for his Lot 80/56 Werk-en-Rust property for the years 1996 to 2013 and the Lalls, $5,660,142 for their Lot 24 Saffon Street, Charlestown property from 1994 to 2013.

The documents stated that under the provisions of the Municipal and District Council Act Chapter 28:01, the defendants are liable for the payment of interests on all sums due and not paid.

It was stated that the defendants are in default in their payments of rates and that the M&CC is entitled to claim the amounts due. It was stated too that the plaintiff had made demands on the defendants for the payment of the aforesaid sums but to no avail.

Carol Ryan Sooba, the acting Town Clerk, in her affidavit verifying claim stated that despite several demands/ requests for the sums to be paid, the defendants have “refused/neglected” to pay the said sums.

She stated that she was advised by her counsel and does verily believe that the defendants have no valid defence for not paying.

In June, the council had urged property owners who owe the municipality taxes to pay up.

A press release had stated that the payment of rates is vital for it to provide services to the citizens.

It noted that for the year so far, the council had collected 42% of the total amount of rates ($1.4 billion) projected for 2013.

It informed that the council’s debt collection team was in the process of distributing demand notices in various wards of the city and was presently delivering notices in North and South Cummingsburg and Albert-town.

The release further added that property owners should be reminded that rates and taxes are payable in four quarterly installments, which are due on the first day of February, April, July and October or on the date demand notices are served.