Lonestar Cell-MTN, the Liberian mobile operator 60%-owned by the South Africa-based MTN Group, has reportedly been successful in its legal bid to overturn a USD19 million tax ruling following a case initiated by the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA). The New Dawn newspaper writes that the Supreme Court of Liberia has reversed the ruling handed out by the judge of the Tax Court, Hon. Mozart Chesson in September 2015. The cellco appealed the decision on the grounds that it was ‘based on procedure error and not the merit of the case’, taking the matter to the Supreme Court. The paper notes that prior to the Tax Court’s ruling, the Board of Tax Appeals (BOTA) in 2014 had earlier decided that Lonestar Cell-MTN was obligated to the government for USD1.8 million plus penalties and not the USD19.2 million the state was claiming.
The Supreme Court has now overturned the lower court’s ruling and agrees with the earlier finding of BOTA that Lonestar Cell-MTN should pay USD2.4 million instead of the higher sum claimed by the LRA. Lonestar Cell-MTN has welcomed the ruling.