We need to gain control

04 January 2018 | Columns

Rarely does a week go by without a headline involving Chinese nationals that are implicated in some sort of crime, whether it be tax evasion or the poaching of the country's natural resources. It appears, to the layman, as though Chinese nationals, many of whom appear to be poor people, are able to open and operate businesses and sell pirated goods in the country without any limits at all. They are able to gain entry to the country with what appears to be reckless abandon and there seems to be no end. The chief of police, Lieutenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga has been quite outspoken on this issue. He has at times accused shop owners in the various Chinatowns scattered across the country of harbouring criminals and storing contraband, including drugs and forbidden animal products. He has held an open press conference with multi-millionaire and fraud-accused Jack Huang where he indicated that a certain suspect in a rhino poaching matter was invited to Namibia by Huang. The donkey abattoirs too, have been linked to the Chinese and the most recent, the illegal logging matter which is finally being investigated by the Anti-Corruption Commission. Let us make this abundantly clear. We are not opposed to foreign nationals that enter Namibia to invest in our country, create jobs, add value to raw materials before export, and train locals, providing skills. But this does not seem to be the case and more and more, we are developing the assumption that somewhere, somehow, someone has a finger in a pie that has power. We seem unable to bring the number of transgressions by Chinese nationals under control. In the matter of rhino poaching, one national was allowed to return home and there, subsequently died… and in a second matter, one absconded, while his passport was to be in possession of the authorities. If Chinese business owners are not keeping records and are working on a cash basis without as much as a till, how will the Receiver know if there are so-called tax gaps? It is an absolute impossibility. So why is this happening and why does it happen so often?

These are the issues which beg clarification.

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