A section of Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs), licensed to buy Cocoa, Shea and Coffee have sued Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and COCOBOD.
The plaintiffs number thirteen (13) in all, took the action against the government organisations over a decision for LBCs to start paying Value Added Tax (VAT). According to the LBCs the provisions in the laws of Ghana have always exempted them from paying. For a period of twenty-four (24) years they have been exempted.
The 13 LBCs involved are Kuapa Kooko Company Limited, Federated Commodities Company Limited (FEDCO), Sika Aba Buyers Limited, CDH Commodities Limited, Adikanfo Commodities Limited, and Olam Ghana Limited. The rest are Unicom Commodities Ghana Limited, PBC Limited, Licensed Cocoa Buyers Association of Ghana (LICOBAG), Agrocom Ghana Limited, Nyonkopa Cocoa Buying Limited, Cocoa Merchants Ghana Limited and M. Ghazalli Limited.
The LBCs state that the conduct of the GRA and Commissioner General of GRA smacks of bad faith, unreasonableness, capriciousness and a complete disregard for the law and the economic rights of the Plaintiffs.
Among the reliefs the LBCs seek from court, they are seeking for are “a declaration that the purported or
effective selection or sampling of the Plaintiffs and other Licensed Buying
Companies (LBC’s) for audits and assessments for the purposes of levying Value
Added Tax (VAT) on them or any completed assessment for the payment of VAT by
the Plaintiffs is arbitrary, inequitable, unreasonable, unfair, capricious, in
bad faith and therefore unlawful, null and of no effect”.
They want a declaration that the activities of trucking and haulage of agricultural products, including cocoa, coffee and shea nuts in their raw state, form part of a chain of many procedures and processes of the supply of agricultural products in their raw state and therefore exempt from VAT.
As an alternative to the above reliefs, the Licensed Buying Companies are also seeking” an order for the 3rd (COCOBOD) and 4th (Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD) Defendants to fully indemnify and compensate adequately the Plaintiffs on a full cost recovery basis for all Value Added Tax (VAT) purported to be assessed, actually assessed, charged and paid by the Plaintiffs to the 1st and 2nd Defendant”.