Thursday, June 4, 2020

KGOSI GRANTED TEMPORARY RELIEF OVER P9 MILLION BURS BILL

The Gaborone High Court has granted former Director of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Isaac Kgosi some breathing space in relation to the P9 million Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) bill.

Kgosi, through his lawyers Thabiso Tafila Attorneys, filed an urgent application to stop the BURS from seizing his property following assessment of his income tax.

Following a series of raids at Kgosi’s residences the BURS had on July 5, 2019 served the former DIS Director with a notice of assessment indicating an additional assessment of over P9 million including a 200 percent penalty for wilful default.  

“We have perused through all declarations submitted, seized documents and all other documents at our disposal including bank statements to verify the accuracy and completeness of your gross income,” the notice reads.

“As a result, there is an additional assessment of 9, 083,871.75.” Kgosi was given 60 days to lodge an objection to the assessment if dissatisfied with the findings.

But in his urgent application for relief Kgosi, through his lawyer Thabiso Tafila, argued that it is the very documents seized by the BURS from his residence that make it difficult for him to substantiate his objection to the bill.

Kgosi also demanded that he be furnished with his tax returns that he submitted with their accompanying documents indicating his salary earnings for the tax years in question, being from 2008 to 2018 so that he might fully and properly answer to the charges. “Once I am in possession of my tax returns for the years in question, I will be able to substantiate my averment, which is that I have not been either delinquent or non-compliant with regards to my tax affairs,” Kgosi.

He said it was at the time impossible to obtain copies of his income tax returns for the years in question because his records were seized by the BURS in a series of raids at his residence.

“I seek interim relief in the form of an order that the respondents furnish me with my tax returns that he has seized …I also seek to halt the process that the First Respondent (BURS) might embark on in attaching my belongings.”

As far as he is concerned, Kgosi told the Court, he is not guilty of tax evasion or other intentional or non-intentional failure to comply with the income tax act. “I aver that the assessments as raised against me are incorrect.”

He said the decision by the BURS to attach his belongings while it is the same BURS that makes it impossible for him to defend himself in a court of law by virtue of the BURS’ seizure of his documents was contrary to the Rule of Law and offends against the principle of ‘Audi-alteram-partem’ (hear the other 0side).”

The former Director of Intelligence also argued that if the BURS succeeds in attaching his properties due to his inability to defend himself because of the seizure of his records, the harm that he may suffer as a result may be of such magnitude that he shall never recover from, financially. “Therefore my family and I require the protection of the Court.”

In its ruling the Court ordered that the BURS furnish Kgosi with reasons and basis for the notice of assessment for income tax dated July 5, 2019 relating to the tax years 2008 to 2019 on or before August 27, 2019.  “The Respondent (BURS) shall furnish the Applicant (Kgosi) with such income tax returns relating to the Applicant and relating to the tax years 2008 to 2019, inclusive, on or before August 27 2019.”

Kgosi was also ordered to lodge his objection against the assessment no later than September 26, 2019. He shall also make a proposal for the due payment of the payable assessed amount no later than September 26, 2019 for adjudication by the BURS. The two parties will appear again in Court on October 14, 2019 for status hearing.

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