President Akufo-Addo has charged lawyers in Ghana to pay their fair share of taxes in Ghana as well as inspire their clients and Ghanaians at large to pay their taxes in order for the country to undertake needed developmental projects.
Addressing 2021 edition of the annual Ghana Bar Association conference held at the Fountain Gate Chapel, Bolgatanga, under the theme: “Ensuring an Increase in Revenue Mobilization for the purpose of National Development through Taxation; The Role of the Lawyer”, President Akufo-Addo said the records of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) shows that lawyers across the country are among the list of peoples who do not pay taxes in the nation.
“I have to point out that if this campaign you are undertaking is to be successful, you will have to start from home. Mr. outgoing president of the Bar, there is no easy way of putting this, you will have to start by getting members of the bar to pay their taxes”.
“The record of lawyers in paying taxes is being historically poor. It is unfortunate but the most unpleasant fact that the members of our profession have not been known to set a good example when it comes to paying taxes” President Akufo-Addo said.
“They appear to think that being members of the learned profession put them above complying with everyday civic duties like paying taxes. It is embarrassing that lawyers are often at the top of the list of those who flout our tax laws and use their expertise to avoid paying taxes” the President added.
GRA Tax Moves
According to the President, the GRA and the National Identification Authority (NIA) through a joint effort has discovered that there about 60,000 professionals in Ghana who do not pay any taxes at all. These professionals are lawyers, accountants, doctors, engineers, architects, among others.
“They (the professionals) will soon be receiving friendly phone calls from the tax authority. I sincerely hope that those involved will move swiftly to regularize their tax affairs before the GRA moves to crack the wipe” President Akufo-Addo said.
In his address, Minister for Justice and Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame noted that his office is bent on ensuring that the interest of the State is protected at all material times.
Referencing the decision of the Kumasi High Court dated Friday, 30th July, 2021, which set aside a judgment entered against the Government on 30th July, 2020 for the seizure machineries, equipment and monies belonging to Heritage Imperial Company, (Plaintiff) by the Taskforce of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on illegal mining in 2018, the Attorney General indicated that inspite of the attacks against him after securing the High Court ruling that set aside its own judgement, he will continue to do everything within his power to protect the public purse.
“In so far as I am Attorney General, the State will zealously protect its interest in litigation just as private legal practitioners protect the interest of their clients. A victory for the State against a private citizen is no justification for unwarranted attacks on public officers responsible for the State’s victory.
Outgoing president of the Bar, Anthony Forson Jnr. in his valedictory address to the bar conference said the greatest lesson he has learned in the office is to be humble, listen and learn from people from all walks of life. He urged his successor to ensure that all projects that are yet to be completed are duly executed.
He registered his appreciation to President Akufo-Addo, former Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo, and current Chief Justice Anin Yeboah for the support they gave him during his tenure in office.
“Philippians 4:8, with all humility, may I leave you with my favorite quote from the Bible where Paul says to the Philippians, finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things,” Anthony Forson said.