A tiff is brewing between Botswana Unified Revenue (BURS) and Standard Chartered Bank Botswana following a decision by the bank to refuse to “remit all monies held on behalf of IRB Transport to the Commissioner General (BURS).”
IRB which holds a current Account with Standard Chartered Bank Botswana is owned by businessman and Tati East Member of Parliament Samson Guma Moyo.
BURS General Manager Compliance Kaone Molapo notified the Managing Director of Standard Chartered Bank Moatlhodi Lekaukau that “I hereby give you notice under the provisions of sections 109 and 40 of the Income Tax Act Chapter 52.02 and VAT Act No.1 of 2001 that I declare you agent of IRB Transport (PTY)Ltd and to pay me the sum P33 215 908.00 being tax due from that person from money: which you hold or may subsequently hold for or on account of that person; which you hold payment to that person on account of some other person or for which you have authority to pay to that person.”
“Payment is to be made today the 23rd June 2015 by 12 noon from the monies so due and if that amount is insufficient to satisfy the debt to pay monies due at any later date within 15 days of that date until the debt is satisfied,” stated Molapo.
The BURS manager also instructed and advised Lakaukau “not allow any withdrawal transaction from this Bank Account until you act on this instruction. Your attention is drawn to the provisions of sections 109 and 40 of the income TAX and VAT Ac. If you neither hold funds nor expect to hold funds so due to the taxpayer please advise me immediately.”
In a related matter, Molapo also notified Lekaukau that “… I declare you agent of Thapelo Olopeng and to pay to me the sum of PP975 723.39 being due from that person, from money which is due may become due from you to that person; which you hold payment to that person on account of some other person or for which you have authority to pay to that person.”
However, through its lawyers, Collins and Newman, Standard Chartered Bank Botswana states that “the Account and funds therein are the subject of a Court Order, in a matter currently pending before the Village Magistrate Court, under case number MCMVL-000003/freezing the Account pending the final outcome and determination of the application by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
The banks says that the Village Magistrate’s Court has further issued an order directing and ordering that the funds be transferred into an interest bearing account which has also been frozen, pending investigations of the confiscation offences by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).
“We advise that our Client is required to comply with the terms of the Court Order and is therefore unable to remit the Funds to yourselves immediately as required by the Notice, pending the conclusion of the matter, whereon the funds shall be paid to yourselves, unless the Court Order provides otherwise. We do however confirm that our client shall not release the funds to IRB transport,” said Standard Chartered Bank.
But the bank further stated that “on the basis that any other monies which may subsequently be received by the Bank to the credit of IRB Botswana shall not for part of the Order, we advise that our client shall upon receipt of the same remit such monies to yourselves forthwith in accordance with the notice.”