May 01, 2017
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Bradley Roberts yesterday labeled Freetown candidate and owner of Superwash Limited Dionisio D'Aguilar a "serial tax dodger", revealing in several Bahamas Customs Department documents that the company was linked to another falsified invoice, this time on the shipment of 53 washers and dryers and 53 coin boxes.
D'Aguilar strongly rejected the tax dodger claim when he spoke to The Nassau Guardian yesterday.
The businessman wrote to the comptroller of customs on July 31, 2013, acknowledging that the sales order for the washers and dryers totaled $260,498, but the commercial invoice from the shipment consignee, Highrollers Trucking Company, totaled $160,760.
High Rollers Trucking paid customs $5,000 in fines and $14,000 additional duty on August 2, 2013 for the undervalued shipment.
Roberts said D'Aguilar's "unethical" behavior must be roundly condemned by all.
"I call on the Bahamas Customs Department and the Ministry of Finance to conduct a review of all of the invoices submitted by companies owned by Dionisio D'Aguilar.
"As the old saying goes, once may be excused, but twice is a habit.
"I further call on the good people of Freetown to strongly reject Mr. D'Aguilar on Election Day, leaving him to do what he does best, which is washing, drying and pressing clothes."
When contacted yesterday, D'Aguilar said Roberts was attempting to "distort the facts".
The documents Roberts attached to his statement show the fraudulent matter was uncovered by a customs officer, who, upon review of the shipment, discovered the "invoice submitted was falsified, thus revenues had been lost".
The customs officer wrote to the comptroller on July 23, 2013, "This invoice shows that this shipment was undervalued by $140,872.
"It was also noted that particular shipment (Rs16256) was marked for direct delivery by the shipping company, so the examining officer may have noted any overages or shortages.
"At this time, bill of lading RS162266W is unentered even though there was an entry previously attached.
"This report is written for any action you may deem necessary".
In D'Aguilar's letter to the comptroller, he said, "Please accept this letter as confirmation that the Laundry Shop sales order representing washers/dryers items totaling $260,498 dated April 5, 2013 is a pro-forma document.
"This shipment was consigned to Highrollers Trucking Company.
"Highrollers Trucking Company, as the proprietor of the shipment of the items, was responsible for the transactions from Laundry Shop as reflected on their commercial invoice totaling $160,760 (see attached as well as the documents from Richard Shipping Services verifying shipment of the goods).
"We appreciate a speedy conclusion on this matter".
The sales order D'Aguilar referred to shows 21 dryers; 18, 30 pound washers; 14, 40 pound washers and 53 coin boxes.
Speaking to The Nassau Guardian, D'Aguilar said, "I submitted a letter to customs [on] what the true value was. I don't know what went on in the background.
"I let High Rollers clear it. Was I complicit in anything? Absolutely not!
"This is just an attempt by them to draw me into a gutter fight to try and sully my good name.
"I won't have any of it. I am not having any of it and I am not going to be drawn into any fight with Bradley Roberts.
"Bradley Roberts is always going to say what he wants to say."
D'Aguilar contended that the PLP chairman timed the release of the documents on the matter, which he pointed out has been settled, to distract the Bahamian public from the controversy surrounding the PLP and its members.
"These little errors or these clerical errors are not something that warrant the public's...I am not going to be drawn in.
"That's what he wants me to do and I am not going to be doing it."
Asked why Superwash used High Rollers Trucking to clear the items, D'Aguilar said the company was "suggested to me and I used them. Would I use them again? No".
He said Superwash has not since used the company.
Last week, Roberts claimed D'Aguilar knowingly and fraudulently altered the original invoices issued by Whirlpool Corporation on a shipment of 27 commercial washing machines.
He also released a series of customs documents along with that statement.
On January 29, 2014 the company admitted that it submitted a false declaration and paid a $15,000 fine.
In response, D'Aguilar said the company was the victim of fraud by an unscrupulous broker and the loss was significant.
He also noted that Superwash was owed $230,000 by Bahamas Customs after an error led to an overcharging of the duty rate on 210, 20-pound washers.
"Errors go the other way," he said yesterday.
"Just last week, I reported we overstated the value or we used the wrong rate of an invoice and customs owes us $232,000.
"So, you know, this is not; obviously it is a concern, but the issue is, in comparison to what the PLP have done to this country in terms of raping it with all these contracts they have been awarding to each other and soliciting people...this is not the issue and this is not something the people of Freetown want to get into."
Roberts said D'Aguilar must be made to answer certain questions, including why he did not verify the documents.
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News date : 05/01/2017 Category : Nassau Guardian Stories