Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) is investigating Tati East Member of Parliament cum businessman Samson Moyo Guma on allegations that his company could be involved in tax fraud, The Patriot on Sunday has learnt.
According to reliable sources, BURS is running parallel investigations to that of Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) over Guma’s IRB transport company. Guma used to own the company with Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Thapelo Olopeng before the latter sold his shareholding valued at P3, 433,072.79 last year and ceased to be a director at IRB.
Information gathered by this publication has revealed that the tax authorities have been investigating IRB for a long time. According to sources, BURS initiated the investigation around 2011 after a tip off that there might be a tax fraud especially for a business that the company was involved in outside the country. The initial investigations did not bear any fruits, according to sources, but last year BURS re-opened the investigation after Olopeng sold his shares to Guma and their value raised eyebrows.
BURS engaged DCEC to also investigate IRB and its business dealings and for possible money laundering while they concentrated on tax fraud investigations.Two weeks ago DCEC moved swiftly to freeze IRB bank accounts at Standard Chartered Bank as well as that of Minister Olopeng. The case continues on July 28 before Magistrate Lenah Oahile Mokibe.
The company, which has won multimillion tenders especially in partnership with Chinese companies, is said to be making millions of money yet its books don’t add up, said a source at BURS. BURS communication specialist Refilwe Moonwa could neither confirm nor deny that they are investigating Moyo and his IRB Company. “The revenue laws constrain us from divulging the affairs of any taxpayer and therefore on the basis on this, we will not provide any comment,” she said in a short statement.
When contacted for comment Guma denied he was being investigated for tax evasion but rather that BURS has recently issued his company with a notice for tax assessment. This, he says, is a procedural undertaking that BURS can issue to any other company. Though the two procedures both address irregular tax practices by any legal entity, Guma said the latter is far friendlier. “Tax evasion is too strong a word,” he said.
According to Guma, as per BURS requirements his company is expected to reconcile its books with the figures presented to them by BURS in its assessment and pay whatever they agree they still owe. “My accountants are busy working on it as we speak,” he said.
Guma further dismissed allegations that there is a witch-hunt against him orchestrated to bring his businesses down. “I will not comment on such rumours but will rather deal with issues as they come,” he said.