Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Taxman chasing Kgosi’s connections

The Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) has put the squeeze on investors who made millions of Pula from dealing with the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) under former Director General Isaac kgosi but evaded paying tax.

The BURS is putting together an extradition request for Vlatacom owner, Vladimir Cizelj who originates from Yugoslavia but exiled to Serbia and later Israel. Cizelj is currently  Botswana consul to Israel and has engaged in private businesses with Botswana’s intelligence organs mostly the DIS under Isaac Kgosi estimated around P500 million, but never paid tax on the amount.

Vladacom paid close to P1 million into DIS Director General Isaac Kgosi’s trust account with a local law firm Collins Newman & Co. Sunday Standard investigations picked the money trail from Vladacom and followed it through the trust fund of the law firm which was engaged by Kgosi as conveyancers to handle all the sale transactions and change of titles for the Sentlhane farm.

The taxman has also moved in to recover more than P30 million in unpaid taxes from Dignia Systems. The BURS is confident that its claim is secure after The Receiver, a department under the Ministry of Defense, Justice and Security tasked with tailing proceeds of crime seized more than P118 million that was paid to Dignia Systems, the Israeli company at the centre of the P250 money laundering trial.

The court documents suggest that at the time that the Directorate of Public Relations (DPP) applied for the money to be to frozen, the Israel Company had not expended the money.

The court order which was delivered by Justice Godfrey Radijeng dated 14 December 2017 show that “the amount of BWP118, 945,045.70 telegraphically transferred on 21 November 2017 to Dignia System Limited a company situate at 9 Shenkar St Herzliya in Israel being holders of Account No. 528379 with Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Limited Bank in Israel” was “placed under restraint…”  The court order also show that the money was part of the items that “should not be disposed of or otherwise dealt with in any manner whatsoever except, in the circumstances that may be specified in this order or any subsequent order.”

The BURS has also closed in on Zambian national, Mpesene Jere of Powerforce who received substantial contracts from the DIS under Isaac kgosi and was also contracted to build Kgosi’s mansion in Phakalane Estates and Sentlhane Farm and former President Lt Gen Ian Khama’s house in Mosu. Jere faces a P 7 million tax invoice from the BURS.

Jere also organised the installation of the BH Botswana generators at Kgosi’s farm. At one point, Jere received over P100, 000 for “building costs”. Kgosi’s bank statement reveals that the former DIS boss received numerous payments from Jere. There is even a cheque from former President Ian Khama that went into Kgosi’s account paid in by Jere.

Also on the BURS crosshairs is Thatayaone Seduke on of the DIS preferred suppliers during Kgosi’s reign. Rosita Enterprises (Pty) Ltd trading as Defense Concepts  owned by Seduke, is alleged to have been closed since August last year after BURS refused to issue them with tax clearance certificate as they owe the taxman over P7 million. A local newspaper quoted a highly placed BURS source saying, “the company has been failing to pay tax and were protected by the previous administration. In most cases they were given some waiver, the last one being in” February last year.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper

Cabinet caught up in a web of P240 million Covid-19 Tender

The fast-tracked procurement processes adopted by Covid-19 Presidential Task Force will come under renewed scrutiny when Botswana Government this week receives a...