An Accra high court has dismissed an application in which Bishop
Daniel Obinim, the Head Pastor of International Godsway Church is
challenging the decision of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) requiring
him to settle a tax liability of GH¢1,591,797.50 to the state.
Pastor Obinim, the applicant wanted the court to declare that the
issuance and service on him to clear his tax liability is null and void.
In his application to invoke the judicial review jurisdiction of the
High Court, the international pastor denied any tax obligation by virtue
of the fact that he had fully paid all his tax liabilities.
The head pastor subsequently initiated the action pursuant to Section
42 of the Revenue Administration Act, 2016, Act 915 and joined the GRA
and Ecobank Ghana Limited, a third party debtor as respondents.
But in its judgement delivered on May 13, 2020, Justice Doreen G.
Boakye-Agyei, presiding, held that the GRA followed procedure in
determining and notifying the applicant of his tax liability.
She said the applicant, not having followed the laid-down procedure
to make his objections to be given a hearing as required by law, in the
considered opinion of “this court is just setting up his own wilful
failure and default as grounds for seeking judicial review”.
Justice Boakye-Agyei stated that the applicant, having admitted that
he was served with notice of his tax liability should have followed the
prescribed rules to have his grievances addressed.
“He cannot use his failure as a ground to seek judicial review. This
instant case is not a proper and appropriate case for the court to
exercise its powers of judicial review,” Justice Boakye-Agyei stated.
On November 15, 2018, the GRA served the applicant with a Notice of
Tax Due requiring him to settle a tax liability of GH¢1,591,797.50 and
followed with a final demand notice on June 17, 2019 requiring him to
settle his tax obligation by June 28, 2019.
Dissatisfied with the decision of the GRA, the applicant filed a
Notice of Tax Objection which was served on GRA on July 30, 2019.
The applicant’s reasons for his objections were inter alia, that he
is the Head Pastor of the International Godsway Church, the church fully
takes care of his expenses and he does not receive any remuneration
from the church.
Pastor Obinim stated that his only source of income is from his shops which he has paid all tax liabilities for.
On February 13, 2020, the GRA proceeded to issue and serve on
Ecobank, a third party Debtor Notice demanding Ecobank to pay
GH¢1,591,797.50 deemed to be the applicant’s tax liability.
The applicant submitted that until and unless a decision is made and
served on him personally, the GRA is estopped under the law to proceed
to enforcement as far as the recoveries of the purported sum is
Pastor Obinim argued that the decision of the GRA to issue a third
party Debtor Notice against the applicant was arbitrary, capricious and
lawless and that justice would be best served if the applicant is given a
fair hearing as far as the Notice of Objection dated July 29, 2019 is