K25m lost in VAT scam

A SCAM in which high-ranking officers at the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) allegedly connived with a named liquidated company to evade tax amounting to over K25 million in unremitted Value Added Tax (VAT) has been unearthed.

Now Government is reported to have seized the liquidated company’s accounts – but only to find them empty – after owners of the company were alerted by their informers in ZRA.

And Petroleum Transporters Association of Zambia (PTAZ) secretary general Benson Tembo has charged that the alleged tax evasion by the said company has vindicated his association’s previous statements that Governmnet was giving too much freedom to foreigners who are ripping the country of its scarce resources.

The company which was owned by Somalis never paid any taxes to the Zambians government from the time the company was established until it was liquidated.  A source in the oil industry close to the development told the Daily Nation yesterday that the company was shielded from tax for a long time by some senior officials at ZRA in a sophiscated clandestine operation because they were beneficiaries of such irregularities by the company.

The source said there was no reason or excuse that the company could give as to why it was not remitting taxes because oil investments were lucrative cash-oriented businesses, adding that the chances of Government recovering the money owed by the company were slim as it did not have assets that could be taken over.

“Don’t you get surprised that such exorbitant amounts of money were not remitted to Governmnet? Some senior officers at ZRA pocketed some money and shielded the company from paying taxes and this is how foreign companies have been looting our country of its entitlements,” the source said.

The source said after the company started making losses and when Government started asking questions about its status with taxes, the same ZRA officials advised the company’s management to go into liquidation so that they could not pay anything to Government.

“Unfortunately, after some people started following the company after some information was leaked about its non-payment of VAT, the same allies at ZRA advised management to go into voluntary liquidation and the courts granted them the certificates.  ‘‘We hear that ZRA has seized its accounts but there is nothing much to recover from an account of a company getting liquidated,” the source said.Overzealous people blocked Johabie Bus Services

Categorized | Business

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