B.C. Liberal Sukh Dhaliwal intends to run in election despite tax-evasion charges

JENNIFER SALTMAN
VANCOUVER DESI

Sukh Dhaliwal

Former MP Sukh Dhaliwal is the B.C. Liberal candidate for Surrey-Panorama. Ashley Fraser/PNG files

B.C. Liberal candidate Sukh Dhaliwal and his wife have been accused of tax evasion after allegedly failing to file tax returns for a company they run.

Charges were sworn against Sukh and Roni Dhaliwal on Oct. 15, 2012 in B.C. Provincial Court in Surrey. Sukh Dhaliwal is charged with six counts of failing to comply with the Income Tax Act. Roni Dhaliwal is facing 14 charges, also of failing to comply with the Income Tax Act.

Both Sukh and Roni had a scheduled appearance in Surrey court Thursday morning to fix a date. They did not appear personally. Another court date was set for Feb. 21.

According to court documents, it is alleged that Dhaliwal “did unlawfully direct, authorize, assent to acquiesce in or participate in” the failure of Genco Consultants Inc. — for which Dhaliwal is listed as president and director — to file a completed corporate income tax return on Form T2 for the taxation years 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

The information states that a notice of requirement was served personally on Dhaliwal on Aug. 24, 2011.

Roni Dhaliwal is listed as the company’s secretary.

The company was incorporated in 1999 and previously registered as a numbered company, but changed its name to Genco Consultants Inc. in July 2001.

When asked about the allegations, Dhaliwal responded via text message that he had little to do with the day-to-day operations of Genco.

“I relied on others to ensure that the company was in good standing with regards to taxes, and that was my mistake. I am the president, and thus I am ultimately responsible. I am working to resolve this matter through the proper channels and am in full co-operation with the current process,” Dhaliwal said.

“This issue does not involve my personal taxes nor my business Dhaliwal & Associates Surveying that has been successfully operating in Surrey for over 15 years. Since the matter is currently before the court, I am unable to comment any further.”

The 52-year-old said he still intends to run for the B.C. Liberals in May in the riding of Surrey-Panorama, where Minister of Social Development Stephanie Cadieux has been the MLA since 2009. Cadieux will run in former finance minister Kevin Falcon’s riding of Surrey-Cloverdale, where she currently lives.

On his campaign website, Dhaliwal says he is advocating for responsible fiscal management, economic decisions that promote opportunity and investment, and taxation policies that allows for a competitive business climate.

Dhaliwal was the Liberal MP for Newton-North Delta from 2006 to 2011, when he lost to the NDP’s Jinny Sims by an estimated 1,000 votes.

In September 2008, Dhaliwal made headlines when it was revealed that he had written a letter of support for gangster Ranjit Singh Cheema on House of Commons stationery, saying he was encouraged by Cheema’s attempts at rehabilitation. Cheema was serving a five-year prison sentence in California.

“He has become an active member of the community, a father and a husband who set down strong roots in Lower Mainland Vancouver area,” Dhaliwal said. “I have no doubt that if he is given support and direction, he will be a strong active member of his community in the years to come.”

Cheema was killed in a drive-by shooting in east Vancouver in November.

Dhaliwal also joined forces with Delta Mayor Lois Jackson and Delta North NDP MLA Guy Gentner in December 2010 to lobby the Parole Board of Canada to deny Kelly David McKenzie parole.

McKenzie pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the September 2008 beating death of his ex-girlfriend Melissa Jean Chatham.

— with files from Cassidy Olivier

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