Taxand contract put on hold

POSTED: 06/1/12 12:22 PM

St. Maarten – Finance Minister Roland Tuitt announced Wednesday that he’s put the multi-faceted contract granted to Taxand on hold while he reviews the manner in which it was granted. Former Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto has already given permission for the company to implement the compliance segment of the project.

“Right now I am busy reviewing that. I will have a meeting with the tax office later this week and then we will see how we will continue with this item,” Tuitt said.

Tuitt did not get into the meat of the issue when announced that he would be putting the project on hold. On May 3 this newspaper reported that the Finance Ministry circumvented the rules for public tenders by granting a consultancy contract worth 210,000 guilders to B&B consultancy in 2010 for assistance with a tax and investment plan. Later, a company the same consultant leads landed a contract worth approximately 14 million guilders (almost $7.8 million) for the restructuring of the tax system. The company in question is Taxand, a global tax consultancy with offices in Curacao and St. Maarten. The company is represented here by Judith Brewster, who also secured a consultancy job for herself worth 17,500 guilders (a bit over $9,700) per month back in 2010. Article 47 of the national audit ordinance stipulates that buying goods or services worth more than 50,000 guilders ($27,778) require a public render, unless the national interest does not allow for any delays.

Brewster appears in two capacities: as the managing partner of B&B consultancy, and as the managing partner of Taxand. On October 4, 2010, six days before St. Maarten obtained country status, and therefore also six days before Hiro Shigemoto took office as Finance Minister, Brewster submitted a quotation for “a tax and investment plan” in her capacity as managing partner of B&B Consultancy. The quotation suggested a 1-year contract based on 50 to 80 “professional hours” per month at a rate of 300 guilders per hour. The value of the quotation was therefore between 180,000 and 288,000 guilders ($100,000 – $160,000).

 

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