Trinidad and Tobago
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Suspended BIR commissioner takes PSC to court

Jada Loutoo Justice Nadia Kangaloo
Justice Nadia Kangaloo

A HIGH Court judge has temporarily halted a cease-to-report-to-duty order on an acting commissioner of the Inland Revenue Division until his lawsuit against the Public Service Commission (PSC) is determined.

Justice Nadia Kangaloo also granted Finbar Bosland, a substantive field auditor III, permission to pursue his challenge against the PSC's decision to suspend him without giving him an opportunity to be heard on allegations of misconduct relating to tax offences.

Kangaloo also ordered a hold on any disciplinary action against Bosland until his lawsuit is heard and determined and for him to be provided with a statement of reasons for his suspension, as well as access to his office. The matter will be heard on March 9.

Bosland was suspended on November 24.

His lawsuit said he was called to a meeting with the chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) and officials of the Ministry of Finance on November 25, when he was told approval for his acting position as assistant commissioner was sent to the PSC, and once approved, a request would be made to process outstanding allowances owed to him.

However, that same day, he was given a suspension letter and told of allegations against him.

The lawsuit said he was not advised of the nature of the allegations and was only told to return certain items such as his phone, computer, keys, car pass and access card.

Bosland said he is unable to access his office to retrieve personal and confidential information and has since repeatedly asked for information relating to the allegation, but is yet to get a response.

The lawsuit contends the decision to suspend him on allegations which did not arise from an investigation and without giving him an opportunity to be heard, breached principles of natural justice.

He wants the court to declare his suspension illegal and that the PSC's conduct is contrary to public service regulations, is oppressive, perverse, capricious and an abuse of power.

Bosland also wants the court to declare that the issuing of the cease-to-work order was procedurally unfair in the absence of evidence and was an unreasonable exercise of power.

Bosland’s lawsuit also says since 2012, he has been involved in ongoing litigation with the IRD over the continuous failure to promote him although field auditors junior to him, have since moved up the ranks.

Two of his lawsuits are currently before the Privy Council.

Bosland’s lawsuit is just one of many brought by an assistant commissioner in recent times over being bypassed for promotion and being accused of misconduct.

In October 2022, Justice Margaret Mohammed ruled that Finance Minister Colm Imbert acted unlawfully and irrationally when he decided not to recommend acting commissioner Rohonie Ramkissoon for the post of BIR chairman. Imbert has said Mohammed's decision will be appealed.

Bosland is represented by attorneys Ravi Rajcoomar, Netram Kowlessar and Ryan Rajcoomar.