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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - TBR given tax grilling on imports

TBR given tax grilling on imports

G

overnment auditors have asked the Thai Boon Roong company to explain large

discrepancies between the amount of construction materials imported duty-free

and estimates of the amounts required to build the new Olympic market.

One Ministry official contacted by the Post said that it was likely that

Thai Boon Roong would be required to pay taxes plus penalties amounting to

"several million dollars," assuming that the company could not provide an

adequate explanation for the discrepancies.

The official scrutiny of Thai

Boon Roong's business practices is likely to bring added headaches to a company

that has been in the spotlight for the past three months.

After a close

examination of customs records, the Ministry of Economics and Finance has sent a

letter to Thai Boon Roong requesting "figures on the quantity and value of ...

materials such as cement, marble plates, solder, steel plates, steel, stone,

Mercedes cars."A response was requested by Feb 8.

In the absence of any

reply, the Ministry sent a second letter on Feb 18 citing the amounts of six

commodities imported.

Referring to customs documents, the ministry said

that Thai Boon Roong had imported 22,900 tonnes of cement while estimates of the

amount required to build the market were between 1,500 and 2,000

tonnes.

For imported steel, the Ministry alleges that of the 6,100 tonnes

brought into the country only between 2,000 and 2,500 tonnes were needed for the

Olympic market. Concerning the importation of 1,200 square metres of marble

plating, the Ministry's letter notes that almost none was used in the market,

adding that marble is used primarily "to build villas, hotels or luxury

buildings."

The Ministry also questions why six Mercedes cars were

imported duty free, why an excess of 34 tonnes of soldering material was needed

and the whereabouts 18 trucks brought in under the duty-free

agreement.

The ministry's letter requested a response by Feb 21 although

none had been received from Thai Boon Roong by close of business Feb

21.

The Ministry's inquiry comes on the heels of complaints by other

companies that markets for products such as cement and steel have become

uncompetitive as, having paid the proper duties for imported products, they

can't match prices with importers that skirt government tax collectors.

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