Egypt's tax authority refers OCI to public prosecution on tax arrears

Ahram Online, Monday 13 Jan 2014

Tax dispute between Orascom Construction Industries and Egyptian government reemerges after non-payment of second installment

A view shows Nile City Towers
A view shows Nile City Towers, owned by Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris, in Cairo November 14, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

The Egyptian Tax Authority (ETA) has handed Orascom Construction Industries Company (OCI), the Egyptian subsidiary of the Dutch company OCI NV, to the state’s public prosecution for refusing to pay LE900 million ($129.3 million) as a second instalment of its LE7.1 billion ($1 billion) of taxes in arrears, state-run news agency MENA reported on Sunday.

Describing the action to prosecute the company, Osama Tawakol, head of the top taxpayers' department at the ETA, said that the authority cannot give up the rights of the state's public treasury, as reported by MENA.

Tawakol added that the ETA takes action against taxpayers with arrears and refers them to the investigation authority. Taxpayers can opt for reconciliation during litigation stages.

In March 2013, ETA accused OCI of tax evasion worth some LE14 billion ($2 billion) over the 2007 sale of the latter’s subsidiary Orascom Building Materials Holding (OBMH) to the cement giant Lafarge for $12 billion.

In April of the same year, OCI reached a settlement over its tax dispute with the government, with the company agreeing to pay the ETA LE7.1 billion in ten instalments from  2013-2017.

As per the settlement, OCI was to begin with an initial payment of LE2.5 billion ($0.36 billion) by mid-May 2013, then follow it up with LE900 million by December, the sum under which the company is facing scrutiny for non-payment.

The rest of the payment period would see six equal instalments of LE450 million ($64.6 million) and two final ones of LE500 million ($71.8 million) in 2017.

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