Tax authority to refer OCI to prosecution over 900M EGP arrears
Orascom Telecom headquarter in Cairo - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: Egypt Tax Authority (ETA) head Mostafa Abdel-Kader said he will file a criminal misdemeanor complaint against Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) on charges it failed to pay 900 million EGP ($125.84 million) of a 7.1 billion EGP settlement it agreed to pay to the Egyptian government in 2012, Al-Bedaia news website reported Friday.

Abdel Kader’s comments came following a suhoor party Thursday evening. OCI is owned by Egyptian business tycoon Nassef Sawiris.

As per the agreement, OCI, Egypt’s largest listed company, paid 2.5 billion EGP as the first installment followed by 900 EGP at the end of  December 2013, with the remaining installments to be paid in installments of 500 million EGP every six months.

The settlement was based on a disclosed 4.7 billion EGP tax claim by the tax authority, which included accrued interest and delay fees, according to an OCI statement.

On March 4, 2014 the attorney general acquitted OCI, listed in the Egyptian Exchange (EGX), and its officials of tax evasion, the company announced in a statement.

“Orascom Construction Industries is greatly keen on committing to the laws and bylaws in Egypt and all other countries where it runs its business and activities,” according to an OCI statement. “The company is considered one of the top tax payers in Egypt and everybody witnesses its long-term commitment to pay any funds owed to the state, including taxes or fees.”

In May 2013, Sawiris, his father Onsi Sawiris, the founder of the Orascom Group and his brother and OCI Chairman Naguib Sawiris, returned to Egypt after their names were lifted from Egypt’s travel ban list. They were banned from travelling abroad by the attorney general due to the tax dispute with the government in March 2013.

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