Thursday, September 24, 2020

Taxman pounces on Boko

Leader of Opposition and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President Duma Boko is being investigated for tax evasion and was Friday morning escorted off the Parliament complex by a Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) officer.

The recent euphoria sparked by the UDC and Botswana National Front President’s promise to buy a utility car for each of the 57 constituencies ahead of General Elections turned into misery this week when it attracted the attention of the taxman.

BURS followed Boko to the Parliament chamber on Friday and impounded his top of the range Range Rover SUV. Ironically, Boko had a few minutes earlier been contributing to the Parliamentary debate on the Banking (Amendment) Bill during which he warned against the use of state institutions to victimize opponents.

Questioning the logic behind the proposed amendment of Section 43 which enhances the investigation powers of the Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) Boko stated “as I know you folks do not like me, and you do not have any reason to because I do not like you too, but if that is the case and you then instruct these agencies because they fall under you, your Government, to harass and request information about me, there is absolutely no basis, there is nothing suspicious about anything I do or anything I may have done at that given point, would Financial Intelligence Agency be entitled for instance, to willy-nilly make these requests?” He said the question was whether there has to be a certain set of circumstances that would become the condition precedent to making the request.

“The point is, make sure you tighten your legislation; you draft it so neatly, so elegantly, so crisply and so clearly that it cannot be stretched to encompass situations that it should not lend itself to abuse.”

Boko’s troubles with the taxman are understood to have been sparked by among other things a letter he recently wrote to BNF regional Chairpersons telling them that he will also be sponsoring the party’s national conference in Rakops next month.

He said he would hire busses to ferry delegates nation-wide and also pay for their food for the duration of the conference.

Some estimates put the conference costs at more than P2million.

A source has confirmed to Sunday Standard that BURS pounced on Boko at Parliament and seized his car.

When contacted for comment before he left the parliament complex with a BURS officer, Boko said everything was under control. When pressed further on why BURS officers were after him, Boko was reluctant to disclose any information save to say he was still in discussion with BURS officers and he did not want to preempt the outcome of the discussions.

A BURS officer known to this publication said Boko has not complied with the taxman. The officer said they are yet to finalize the matter because it seems there was a third party who was involved in doing some paper work on behalf of Boko and they are yet to get to the bottom of the issue.

Boko who was seated in the front seat with the BURS officer was in the company of his secretary as they drove out of the National assembly complex.

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