Owner of the Kaieteur News, Glenn Lall yesterday maintained his silence on the recently dropped tax evasion matter against him and three others saying that a report carried by this newspaper about him was unfair, biased and one-sided.
Contacted following his return to the country, Lall said that he was sticking to his previous position that he will never again speak to the Stabroek News. He made reference to a February 15, SN article which said that Lall’s credibility was in question for entering into a secret deal with the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) to have the charges against him and the others dropped. The newspaper pointed to the fact that this occurred even though Lall through his newspaper has been a crusader for exposing wrongdoing and corruption particularly by the government.
When the matter came to an end at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court last month, Lall at the time was abroad. He had indicated that on his return he would speak to the newspaper about the case. He has since returned and yesterday when contacted Lall repeatedly stressed his dissatisfaction with what had been written by this newspaper and his position that he would not comment.
In a response one day after the SN article, Lall in comments to his newspaper called the article malicious and misleading.
“For the Stabroek News to suggest that I was implicated in anything is nothing but wicked and malicious. When the settlement was reached I was out of the country and when the decision was handed down I was out of the country.” he was quoted as saying.
He went on to state that it is public knowledge that the charges against him were trumped up, adding that he never imported any vehicle or sought remigrant status with the aim of doing so. He did not, however, explain how the criminal charge against him came to be dropped.
Lall said that indeed he was critical of operations at the Guyana Revenue Authority during his pursuit of accountability and fair play in the national economic system. He said that his anti-corruption stance caused him to release e-mails between the GRA and Government officials which was done when he learnt that the government had planned to go after him for his position on corruption at the national level.
As a result of an apparent ongoing probe into the possible abuses of duty-free concessions under the remigrant programme, Lall, his wife Bhena and their friends, remigrants Narootandeo and Gharbassi Brijnanan were charged. They were all accused of attempting to defraud the GRA of taxes for two Lexus vehicles which were imported by the Brijnanans.
The Lalls made their first court appearance on October 13, 2014 and were arraigned on tax evasion charges, all of which they denied. The Brijnanans were subsequently charged and they too had denied the allegations that were put to them by GRA prosecutor Sandil Kissoon.
Lall had told Stabroek News prior to his court appearance that the court matter was “nothing to fight about” and that the charges were “trumped up.” He made it clear that the Brijnanans were his friends and he was the only “family” they had in Guyana.
He was adamant that the prosecution was a political action and the latest attempt to “muzzle and close” Kaieteur News down because of the stand that the newspaper has taken against government corruption. He at no point suggested that he was in a mood to settle the case.
The quartet continued to attend court but in a surprise move on February 4, GRA prosecutor Kissoon attempted to have the charges