Wednesday, September 23, 2020

BURS defend tax evasion case against security co

The Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) Acting Commissioner General Segolo Lekau has declared interest to defend the proceedings in a case in which Prevailing Security (Pty) Ltd demand a reassessment of the alleged P80 million VAT and Income tax evasion instituted against the company.

Prevailing Security Company is owned by Shadrack Baaitse and is one of the companies which were placed under investigations by Directorate of intelligence Services (DIS), BURS, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and the Botswana Police Service (BPS).

This was immediately after former President Ian Khama stepped down because they were deemed as having a close and questionable relationship with former DIS director Isaac Kgosi. 

According to Court papers dated 30 July 2020, Prevailing Securities Ltd seeks legal intervention and has approached the Lobatse High Court. The matter is before judge Michael Leburu, in which the company seeks an assessment review of the VAT and Income tax instituted against it with allegations it owes the BURS P4 million.

In a notice of opposition dated 20 August 2020, the BURS through its attorneys says it stands its ground and will defend the matter to its finality because it believes Prevailing Security was in tax evasion. 

“Extract of minutes of the board meeting of the BURS held in Gaborone on the 17 august 2020 has resolved that the Botswana Unified Revenue Service defend to finality the court proceedings instituted in the high court by Danny Julius Guduli under case no. mahgb-000454-20’” said Lekau.  

The notice of opposition further reveals that the Acting Commissioner General of the BURS be and is hereby authorized to sign all documents on behalf of the Botswana Unified Revenue Service as may be required and to take all other necessary steps for the final prosecution and/or defence of the aforesaid case. 

Prevailing Security is seeking court that the additional VAT of close to 7 million (P7, 179,977.92) against Prevailing Security (Pty) Ltd for the period January 2013 t0 December 2017 be reviewed and set aside.

The company asked for the imposed penalty of 200% against it being the sum of P14 million (P14, 359,955.85) to be reviewed and set aside and the Income Tax assessment taking into account its running costs and expenses within 30 days of order of court.

The company also requested that the BURS Income tax Assessment of P56 million (P56 703 834.34) inclusive of penalty be reviewed and set aside.

Baaitse through his lawyer Laone Serole, prayed for the court to order for the respondents (BURS) to conduct a fresh assessment taking into account the companies concerns because they believe the company owes BURS P4 million and not 

He also prayed that pending for the tax reassessment, and determination of the objections raised by the security Company, BURS are hereby restrained and interdicted from any or further actions against Prevailing Security in relation to this matter.

In their Court papers, the security company state that the statutory remedies in the Income Tax Act that would be naturally available to Prevailing Securities have been rendered nugatory by the conduct of BURS. 

“Its conduct is patently unlawful and has left the Judicial Manager with no option but to approach the court for relief,” said Serole

This comes after Prevailing Securities’s lawyer wrote to BURS arguing that on numerous occasions, both telephonically and in person through its Directors and Judicial Manager, they attended to BURS to request for reassessment but they were ignored. 

 “As would be obvious, the total amount assessed for both VAT and Income Tax far exceed any amount that was ever received by the company from its customers in the amount whole assessment period,” Serole

Serole further said, BURS in its own account, claims that the amount received for the periods 2014 to 2018 was P72, 420 714.39. It is indicated that the sum of P72, 420 714.39 does not represent income or turn- over. 

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.