Taxman moves on fraud

The taxman has highlighted instances where what people were importing and exporting did not match up to the income of a particular person, giving rise to the possibility that money was leaving the country illegally.

14 November 2019 | Local News

Tax commissioner Justus Mwafongwe says the use of good standing certificates may be one way to ensure that billions do not disappear from local circulation though customs and other fraudulent activities.

Good standing certificates are issued in instances where no taxes are owed to government.

“There is a requirement, for instance, if you are taking money out of the country, offshore investments, there is a requirement to produce a good standing certificate just to make sure that this particular person is in good standing with his tax account,” Mwafongwe said.

“Being in good standing is one thing; the other is whether you have actually declared all the income you have earned. On face value, you can be in good standing because all your returns have been submitted, but maybe when you were assessed you have actually not declared all the income that you have earned, that is another issue that we are looking at.” Mwafongwe explained there were instances where what people were importing and exporting did not match up to the income of a particular person, giving rise to the possibility that money was leaving the country illegally, Mwafongwe explained.

“These are your declarations, but there is information/evidence that you have been taking so much out of the country, so the two do not correlate, because otherwise if you are just declaring X amount, at the same time you have the ability to take Y amount out of the country… somewhere, somehow you are doing business, you are getting extra income. Where did you get all this money? So that collaboration between us, the Bank of Namibia (BoN), customs and excise and commercial banks, in terms of check mechanisms, those have been strengthened,” he said.

Walvis Bay-based businessman Laurentius Julius, along with Chinese nationals Tao Huizhong, Jack Huang, Zhihua Gua, Hongying Jia, Shuhua Cao, Dadi Li and Ying Zhang stand accused of syphoning N$3.5 billion out of the country between 2010 and 2016. The case is expected to return to the High Court in January next year. All the accused are currently out on bail.

Evidence presented in the Windhoek High Court during a bail hearing indicated that the ministry of finance suffered losses as a result of the under-declaration of the value of goods imported into Namibia on which customs duties were supposed to be paid. Mwafongwe said the N$3.5 billion matter before court a lesson learnt by treasury.

“It's a lesson, we have learnt a lot from that incident and we have actually set up some control mechanisms to make sure this will not be repeated. We are collaborating more with the central bank; they have an exchange control directorate within the bank,” he added.

OGONE TLHAGE

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