Thursday, October 22, 2020

BURS turns up the heat on Boko, Moyo Guma

The taxman was this week dialling up the pressure against Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President Duma Boko and Tati East Legislator Samson Guma Moyo who are still reeling from their recent raids and investigations on tax issues.

After repossessing Boko’s Range Rover for alleged tax evasion, the Botswana Unified Revenue Services has instituted fresh investigations against the Leader of Opposition after it emerged that his law firm has not been complying with VAT (Value Added Tax) and Pay as You Earn (PAYE) requirements.  

The taxman is investigating Boko’s law-firm for allegedly deducting PAYE from employees and not remitting it to the BURS.

It is understood that Boko held negotiations with the taxman last week to work out a payment plan. It appears the negotiations have collapsed as the tax man has now decided to go after Boko. This was after Boko was quoted accusing BURS of political bias.

It is understood that the taxman abandoned the negotiations after some of Boko’s supporters decided to pre-empt the outcome of the discussions. Sources close to Boko say his trouble with the taxman predates the presidency of Mokgweetsi Masisi and the decision to investigate and seize his property has nothing to do with the politicisation of state institutions to victimize opponents.

BURS is also reported to have last week garnished Moyo Guma’s personal bank accounts. All the banks have been instructed to freeze Moyo Guma’s accounts and garnish his wages until he has paid up. Guma has since fled the country after claiming that there is a DISS bullet with his name on it.

Meanwhile the Government of Botswana has expressed disappointment with media reports attributed to Guma that he has fled Botswana because there is a plot by government to assassinate him.

Permanent Secretary to the President Carter Morupisi said in a statement that government has noted with great concern continued allegations in the media by some activists in the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) who continue to create an atmosphere of political crisis in the country by falsely claiming that they are being targeted by the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) and other law enforcement entities.

He said Botswana has a well-known record regarding the respect for the rule of law, good governance and the respect for human rights and therefore it is not possible for politicians to be targeted by law enforcement agencies unless they have a case to answer.

“In this respect, as far as government is concerned, Mr Moyo has a constitutionally guaranteed right to participate in local politics whichever way he sees fit. This is the same right he enjoyed without threat to his life when he resigned from the ruling BDP in 2010 to join the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). Similarly, he enjoyed the right when he later re-joined the BDP,” said Morupisi.

He added that “It is however a matter of public record that Mr Moyo’s issue with the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) go as far back as 2015. It is also worth noting that this is not the first time Mr Moyo has made claims that he was being targeted through public institutions by the Office of the President (OP), as he made similar claims in 2015.”

To this end, Morupisi said, Guma cannot be a target of assassination this year as it was not the case in 2015.

“While government understands that political issues can get intense, it is highly regrettable when respected political leaders like Mr Moyo and others engage in conduct that seeks to undermine the peace and stability of this country,” said Morupisi.

According to Morupisi Government of Botswana continues to uphold the rule of law, the respect for human rights and good governance.

“To this end, His Excellency Dr Mokgweetsi E. K. Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana has committed himself to respect the Constitution of the Republic of Botswana just like his predecessors did,” said Morupisi.

Guma Moyo has in the past claimed that the DIS under the then Director General Isaac Kgosi had issued a hit against him and BCP legislator Dithapelo Koorapetse.

The Selibe Phikwe Member of Parliament deposed an affidavit that on April 5, 2018 he received a call from Guma relating to their work in the PAC concerning and relating to the NPF.

He alleged that in the cause of their conversation Guma informed him that he had received a tip-off from an anonymous member of the DIS that there was a plan by the agency to either harm him and Guma following what was perceived as their hostile and intense attitude in the questioning and interrogation of the NPF.

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