Africa

Liberia Blacklisted As An “Offshore Tax Haven”

Monrovia, Liberia – February 19, 2019: The West African nation of Liberia has been named as one of thirty countries worldwide on the European Commission (EU) Offshore Blacklist.

Political Map of Liberia

Political Map of Liberia

West African Journal Magazine can report that according to the Crystal Worldwide Group, the list created by the EU Commission and recently released is composed of countries that have refused to cooperate with tax matters.

“…To be registered on the list, a country must had been reported by at least ten EU member countries….” Crystal Worldwide said.

The only other African country blacklisted in the report is the Indian Island Ocean country of Mauritius. It has been disclosed that Liberia is among other countries that have asked to be removed from the list.

Crystal Worldwide Group says it is an international business consulting firm which specializes in tax planning and asset protection for its clients.

Liberia has long been named for inclusion on the EU list of countries whose weak laws allow for the setting up of secret offshore companies. The small West African country  appeared in the “Panama Papers” a few years ago when it was revealed that a secret Liberian company connected to the family of former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was used to move funds. The Africa Report published by Jeune Afrique reported in 2016 that in the particular case, “… there was no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of Sharif’s family.”

Offshore-Bank-Account

Offshore-Bank-Account

The “Panama Papers” is a report by global investigative reporters on the offshore links of some of the world’s most prominent figures which include leaders and celebrities and their “wealth” which are stashed away in secret tax havens abroad to avoid legal taxation and law enforcement scrutiny.

The African Report publication wrote in 2016 that, “ For a few hundred dollars, and in a matter of hours online, anyone in the world can set up a tax free Liberian company that offers total anonymity to its owner. Such anonymity allows individuals to hide their assets from tax and law enforcement agencies…”

A former Liberian Maritime head Mr. Binyah Kesselly, in February, 2013 said he expected Liberia to be removed from such black lists of international “tax havens” because of active measures the Government was taking.

The measures included passage of Amendments in the national Legislature to provide transparency in the ownership information and full compliance with peer review recommendations for accounting records of offshore companies which use Liberian laws to skirt international oversight.

It is unknown if Liberia is now in compliance since the latest EU Commission Report lists the country as one of many countries which can be used to set up secret offshore companies.

A Global Witness campaigner Jonathan Gant notes that “Secret companies have been used to hide ill-gotten money from drugs, corruption, and terrorism.”

By Our Economic Staff Editor

West African News Journal