Finance minister confirms settlement about huge tax debt of company
AA PhotoFinance Minister Naci Ağbal has confirmed the existence of an official settlement to forgive an alleged tax debt worth 422 million Turkish Liras belonging to Cengiz İnşaat, a construction company which has won dozens of big public and private infrastructure and energy projects.
“This is a settlement document which is officially recorded by the state, and not confidential,” he said in a parliamentary session.
“These are open legal settlement documents, which exist in the state’s records and are open to the public. Each settlement commission reviews the laws, legal notices, bylaws, circulars and the customs of the Directorship of the Revenue Administration in line with its authorization area and makes a decision in accordance with the laws. My conscience is clear. Nobody’s debt was erased,” he said.
Discussion on the topic began at a plenary session in parliament following a series of questions by opposition parties about Cengiz’s latest business activities at a mine in the Cerattepe area of Artvin that prompted protests from local people over environmental concerns.
Deputies from opposition parties asked a number of questions about the company during the session during which the Finance Ministry’s budget was also discussed.
“We talked about this issue at least three times in the commission and I have asked questions here about it at least three or four times. Tell us here whether there was any tax settlement with big tax payers, for instance with Cengiz İnşaat. I won’t ask this question again, I promise,” said an Antalya deputy from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Mehmet Günal.
An Istanbul deputy from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Mahmut Tanal, also showed a series of documents.
“Dear Finance Minister, here there is a document numbered 2010/42 and issued on Dec. 24, 2010, at the Central Settlement Commission of the Finance Ministry in Ankara. And here is a second document numbered 2010/38 and issued on Sept. 21, 2010, at the Central Settlement Commission in Ankara. I will now send you the copies of these two documents with the help of staff members here,” he said, adding that statesmen needed to tell the truth.
“These documents exist in the state’s records. These are office documents which were audited and they do not feature any unlawful acts. The settlement commission finalized the issue after making legal assessments. Please, do not present these documents as if they were secret documents and kept from the public,” said Ağbal.