February 7, 2013 6:38 am

B.C. Liberal Sukh Dhaliwal faces tax-evasion charges

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B.C. Liberal candidate and former MP Sukh Dhaliwal is facing six charges under the Income Tax Act for failing to file returns for a company of which he is president, The Vancouver Sun has learned.

The charges were sworn by a Surrey justice of the peace on Oct. 15, 2012 according court records obtained by The Sun.

Two weeks later, the B.C. Liberals announced that Dhaliwal would be their candidate for Surrey-Panorama in the upcoming provincial election.

“British Columbia is at a crucial point in history, and the B.C. Liberals are the best option for our province’s economy,” Dhaliwal said as he announced his candidacy on Oct. 31.

“Offering families low taxes, a clear plan for growth and the fiscal capacity for strong systems of support are values that I firmly believe in.”

Dhaliwal made a first appearance on the charges in Surrey Provincial Court Nov. 26 and was arraigned Dec. 17. The case was before a Surrey judge three times in January. And it is again in court today to fix a date.

The charges relate to his position as president of Genco Consultants Inc., of which his wife Roni is listed in corporate documents as secretary. There are no other directors listed.

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Genco was founded on Nov. 26, 1999 as a numbered company, according to the B.C. corporate registry, adopting its current name in 2001.

The two page indictment says Dhaliwal violated section 238 (1) of the Income Tax Act when “on or about Dec. 23, 2011, [he] did unlawfully direct, authorize, assent to, acquiesce in or participate in Genco Consultant’s failure to file a completed Corporate Income Tax Return or T2.”

There is a separate count with identical wording for each of the years 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. Each count also says that Dhaliwal was “served personally” with a notice of requirement to file on Aug. 24, 2011.

Dhaliwal provided an emailed response to The Sun late Wednesday.

He said Genco “is a joint venture with other companies.”

“This is not a company that I had direct day-to-day operational responsibilities, but as a director, do have responsibility for overseeing the overall operations,” he said. “I am working to resolve this issue as soon as possible, and am fully co-operating with the process. I am confident that this will be resolved in short order and I will fulfil any and all obligations.”

B.C. Liberal campaign director Mike McDonald said in an email that Dhaliwal “has made us aware of issues concerning a company in which he is a director and will be keeping us up to date with his progress.”

“He disclosed the matter and has assured the party that he is working to resolve it as expeditiously as possible and fully intends to fulfil any and all obligations,” McDonald said, without providing details of when the party was informed by Dhaliwal.

Dhaliwal was an MP from 2006 and 2011, during four of the years that the Canada Revenue Agency alleges he failed to file returns for his company.

The maximum penalties under the act for the offence are a $25,000 fine and a year in jail.

Vancouver lawyer Ravi Hira said Wednesday that convictions under the Income Tax Act can result in a record under the Criminal Records Act.

“Every person or corporation that makes income or has income in Canada, net income, must file a tax return. If you fail to file a tax return, the minister or a representative of the minister can demand of the individual … or, if it’s a corporation, of a person who’s in charge of the corporation, to file a return,” Hira explained.

“In this case, it is alleged that the demand has been made of a person in charge of the corporation pursuant to section 231.2. If a return isn’t filed pursuant to a demand, then the person is committing an offence. The offence is an offence under the Income Tax Act. It carries, on summary conviction, a minimum fine of $1,000, and a fine that cannot exceed $25,000 and it can also have up to one year imprisonment.”

Dhaliwal had been a Liberal MP for Surrey Newton-North Delta for five years when he was defeated in 2011 by Jinny Sims, of the NDP.

Dhaliwal, 52, has made his mark in politics at all three levels of government.

Back in 1999, he signed up thousands of members for the Surrey Electors Team – then the dominant municipal party in Surrey – when Liberal MP Kevin Falcon was SET’s campaign manager.

Then he entered the federal arena as an organizer and candidate for the Liberal Party of Canada.

He also organized provincially for Premier Christy Clark’s leadership bid in 2011.

Dhaliwal has also attracted controversy.

While a federal MP, he wrote a reference letter on official House of Commons stationary for convicted international drug smuggler Ranjit Singh Cheema. The letter was addressed to the California judge sentencing Cheema after he pleaded guilty to conspiring to import 200 kilograms of heroin. Cheema was gunned down in Vancouver last year shortly after getting out of prison. 

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