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Documents leaked out of Belize Telemedia Limited have revealed that the company has outstanding payments to the General Sales Tax for the period 2012 to 2017. This has stirred up major controversy for the telecommunications company, because it appears the company has been allowed to get away from facing penalties like normal business owners for failure to pay taxes. Today the Opposition Leader and the Opposition’s Shadow Minister of Communications and Public Utilities discussed the situation at BTL, calling on the company to come clean.


JOHNHon. John Briceno, Opposition Leader


“As if all this was not enough we now find out that the government owned and control Belize Telemedia, that company that we ended up paying more than half a billion dollars for part ownership is now under investigation for possibly defrauding the government and they owe almost thirty million dollars in GST from as far back as 2012.”

 

Hon. Kareem Musa, PUP Shadow Minister of Communications & Public Utilities


“The BTL issue is a huge deception because they have always celebrated what a great investment BTL is for the people of Belie, yet what we saw from the settlement agreement is that we over paid for BTL as the party leader rightly pointed out some five hundred and fifty seven million dollars, central bank has had to put twenty million dollars coming out of central bank, Social Security Board the people’s money eighty five million dollars. We are now seeing evidence based on an audit report conducted by the GST department that BTL has been grossly under reporting its financials and has not been paying taxes, they can’t pay their fare share of taxes but the rest of us have to and this is the bottom line, ladies and gentlemen, why are there two sets of rules one for the UDP and one for the rest of Belize and last weeks bomb came with exploding evidence pouring out of the tax department are piles of documents that are still being analyzed, the UDP government says that it is all lies, however these documents show that there is some two hundred and forty million dollars of under reporting by BTL between 2012 and 2017, if that is a lie then please tell us the truth. News five quoted, Nestor Vasquez, chairman of the BTL board by saying that BTL pays its GST on a monthly basis and does not owe one penny for GST, the financial Secretary, Mr. Joseph Waight on the other hand also weight in on these controversial allegation that are in circulation and what he ahs confirmed was that the GST Department was in fact doing an audit of BTL, that audit has now concluded , ladies and gentlemen, and the big question on everybody’s mind is this: if the audit confirms that there was under reporting, if it shows that BTL has not been paying its proper GST since 2012 then why has the GST department giving special treatment and protection to BTL by not issuing an assessment.”

On Tuesday the Opposition Leader wrote to the Prime Minister requesting copies of the GST audit on BTL and a purported letter from BTL to the Financial Secretary, requesting a waiver.


Hon. Kareem Musa, PUP Shadow Minister of Communications & Public Utilities


“There exist a letter from the Chairman of the Board of Directors asking the Financial Secretary for a waiver or a write off for the payment of these outstanding taxes and let me just say this has been confirm from two very reliable sources and if this is true once again a very serious allegation. Today, I am happy to report that the Party Leader has written a letter to the man behind it all, the man that has been hiding behind the curtain, the wizard of Oz, the Prime Minister himself to demand full disclosure of the financial affairs of the people’s company, BTL, he can no longer hide behind the curtain and say that BTL is a private company the way he did in the House of Representatives when we asked him to disclose how much he was paying his son Anwar Barrow we the Belizean people have close to seven hundred million dollars invested and tied up in BTL and we are demanding answers, Prime Minister.”


Hon. John Briceno, Opposition Leader


“We are calling for an independent audit, a complete forensic audit into the affairs of BTL and if the government does not do it when we the PUP government will have a foreign audit being done in BTL so everybody can know what exactly has happened under the tenure of the Prime Minister and his son Anwar Barrow whilst they were at the helm of BTL.”

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