Tax Evaders Arrested

MORE than 100 businesspeople face criminal charges for tax evasion and forging certificates of good standing, with seven already charged and released on N$5 000 bail each.

Those arrested on Monday in north are: Waldheim Mutileni, his wife Diina and his father – whose name was not given – Belinda and Joram Nghixulifa Jona Israel and a Heita.

They appeared in the Oshakati Magistrate’s Court yesterday facing fraud and forgery charges. They are expected back in court next year.

The arrests emanate from investigations carried out by the Ministry of Finance’s tax investigations division created last year to track tax dodgers.

The Namibian understands that some of the finance ministry’s officials have been suspended while others are being investigated for colluding with tax dodgers who were issued with certificates of good standing to enable them to get government tenders.

The tax investigations division is one of the many reforms made within the finance ministry last year, which have helped the ministry make record tax collections since then. Finance ministry permanent secretary Ericah Shafudah yesterday confirmed that the ministry investigated people who violated the State Finance Act and the country’s tax laws.

Shafudah could not provide further details since her officials were still busy with investigations, but said one of the areas being investigated is the falsification of certificates of good standing.

“We are still investigating to assess the magnitude,” she said, adding that the ministry will announce its findings soon.

So far, The Namibian is reliably informed that about 100 cases have been forwarded to the police for further investigations. Most of these are businesspeople from the north of the country.

Some of the businesspeople from Outapi and Oshakati were arrested last week, while others are under investigation. Although the names of the arrested businesspeople are known, they cannot be published because they are yet to appear in court.

Hardap region police are also investigating how a business landed a road construction tender when it does not have a certificate of good standing.

This comes after the ministry started closing the loopholes and cleaning up its tax collection systems. Sources said the ministry discovered that many companies and businesspeople who are recipients of government tenders do not pay taxes.

Since it is a requirement for businesses to provide good standing certificates when they tender for government and parastatal jobs, many started acquiring the certificates fraudulently.

Source : The Namibian