Medical Centre fined for under-invoicing

ASP Damion Lee (centre) who took carriage of the case along with Customs Officials

The St. Andrew’s Medical Diagnostics Inc on Tuesday was ordered to pay the State $75,000.00 by Chief Magistrate, Her Honour Tamara Gill.

The ruling brings to an end years of wrangling between the Medical facility and the Grenada Customs and Excise Department that had laid charges of under-invoicing against the private business.

During a ruling handed down on Tuesday, the Chief Magistrate ordered that money be paid on or before January 15, 2013.

Attorney-at-law, Dickon Mitchell of the Law Firm of Grant Joseph and Company represented the medical center in the court matter.

T

Attorney Dickon Mitchell – was successful in reducing the fine

he medical centre, through its owner, Dr. Dennis Atoe was accused of defrauding the Customs Department of duties from items imported into the country since 2009.

Initially, 49 charges were laid on the privately-owned business but with the statute of limitation coming into force, 20 charges were dropped. The statute of limitation is seven years for under-invoicing.




The Nigerian-born Dr. Atoe was said to be engaged in importing various items purportedly for the business in St. Andrew’s.

However, the Customs Department in the course of an investigation discovered that the value of the items which included equipment that he submitted was not correct.

Under the Customs Act, he was charged for under-invoicing where he would have had to pay the differences of the duties owed to reflect the true nature of the price of the imported items.

THE NEW TODAY understands that the difference in the outstanding duties and taxes estimated by Customs was $132,000.00 and this was paid by Dr. Atoe.

However, the Comptroller of Customs imposed an additional fine on the medical center based on the Customs Act.

The legislation indicates that in addition to what was already paid, the guilty person can be fined by the Comptroller as much as five times the value of the goods as a penalty.

Dr. Dennis Atoe – engaged in under-invoicing

The Customs called on the business to pay $160,000.00 more in fines but St. Andrew’s Medical Diagnostics disagreed.

They contended that that sum was too exorbitant taking into consideration that $132,000.00 was already paid to the Customs.
In a further conciliatory discussion the sum was drastically reduced to $75,000.00.

Both parties are to return to court on January 28, 2013 to report to Magistrate Gill on whether or not the deadline for payment was met.

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