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Fnm To Press Over Ruffin’S Unpaid Taxes

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FNM Deputy Leader Peter Turnquest.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

FREE National Movement Deputy Leader Peter Turnquest said the opposition will press Prime Minister Perry Christie in Parliament about billionaire investor Philip Ruffin’s failure to pay millions of dollars in owed casino taxes.

Tribune Business reported two weeks ago that the auditor general’s report for the year ending June 2014 showed that the former Crystal Palace owner owed $7.277m in taxes, an increase from the previously reported $5.13m.

This comes even though Mr Christie said in 2014 that the auditor general’s previous report on the number of taxes Mr Ruffin owed was incorrect, suggesting that the outstanding casino tax balance was settled when Mr Ruffin sold the Wyndham and Crystal Palace casino to Baha Mar developer Sarkis Izmirlian.

Mr Christie said at the time: “Just let me put on the record that at the time of the purchase of those facilities, all taxes would have been paid. All taxes that were legally due to the government would have been paid. That is the assertion I make. I am going to be able to put it on the record. I am going to speak to Ministry of Finance officials just to be able to confirm and verify that point.”

Mr Ruffin was a client of Mr Christie and Deputy Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis’ law firm when they were in private practice.

Mr Ruffin has maintained close ties to Mr Christie.

“This has been going on for a number of years,” Mr Turnquest said when contacted yesterday. “The matter was raised in the last audit as well. The prime minister indicated the bill had been paid even though the auditor indicated that it hadn’t been paid and that it’s clear the funds are outstanding. The obligation is now on the government to go out and collect the money.”

Mr Turnquest said the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), of which he is a member, would not investigate the issue because it has already been settled by the auditor general.

However, he said “absolutely we will raise it” in Parliament, particularly during the mid-year budget debate.

“This demonstrates a lack of will because of people affiliated with this government. We squeeze ordinary Bahamians for business license and value added tax (VAT) fees. This doesn’t send a good message that we are allowing these wealthy foreign individuals to get off scot free.”

Comments

TruePeople 3 years, 9 months ago

PGC obliviously a monkey on a string.

How this guy could be 'leader' of our country, when any rich individual can come here and purchase his soul for a bargain price?

Nygard, Ruffin, etc. these are our countries real 'leaders' as they are the ones who's will is imposed on our country. The fool dem in the HOA is just their servant staff, doing their bidding, and part-time actors, making us believe we actually have an independent nation, and a sovereign government.

so tired of it!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 9 months ago

Mr Perry Christie is rumoured to have told Mr Peter Turnquest in no uncertain terms that if he does not back-off on Mr. Christie's relationship with Mr Ruffin, then Mr Christie will make know to the Bahamian public all of those FNM politicians and their FNM political friends and business cronies who have received unsecured (or improperly secured) advances and loans from the Bank of The Bahamas (BoB) that have been defaulted on and may never be repaid. In the circumstances, Mr Turnquest is likely to cower and not press the Ruffin delinquent tax matter with any great political fervor.

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TruePeople 3 years, 8 months ago

damn it if PGC cared about the Bahamas at all he would have made known those things long time. His holding on to them as potential black mail to cover his own shiesty dealings speaks volumes about this "mans" character.

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Greentea 3 years, 9 months ago

The foolishness going on here is an almost open secret. If this doesnt go anywhere then I know the FNM is compromised. What a tragedy.

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themessenger 3 years, 8 months ago

Let Christie squeal on alla dem,who gives a rats ass. We don't need crooks period and ALL should be exposed and prosecuted regardless of political affiliation, who da cap fit let dem wear it.

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asiseeit 3 years, 8 months ago

Once again the party that tout's itself as the party of the poor and downtrodden is shown to be the party of the rich and famous. Perry is a sellout punk that should be jailed for his actions, or in this case inaction. The damage that the PLP has done to this country is approaching the point of no return, keep it up to the entire Nations detriment.

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