Taxman Shivute’s Exit Query

INLAND Revenue Commissioner Sam Shivute’s secondment to the Ministry of Finance came to an end because of political pressure and protection given to some allegedly corrupt businesspeople, The Namibian has learnt.

Shivute was seconded to the finance ministry by the Bank of Namibia in April last year and, according to sources, was supposed to work with the finance ministry for three years.

The post of Inland Revenue Commissioner had been vacant for 10 years before Shivute’s secondment, and it is understood that the ministry still has no replacement for him.

The Namibian has also learnt that businesspeople, who were being pursued by Shivute for dodging paying taxes, had threatened him and his family, with some allegedly making it clear that they would make sure he was removed from that position.

They further said at some point this year, Shivute was assigned a bodyguard by the Bank of Namibia, where he is the director of banking services.

Police Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga’s office confirmed yesterday that they were aware of the alleged threats and that they emanate from investigations targeted at tax dodgers.

The sources said Inland Revenue was pursuing over 1 000 businesses that benefited from government tenders without paying any taxes.

The Namibian reported last week that eight businesspeople were arrested in Oshakati and charged for defrauding government by falsifying certificates of good standing when they tendered for government contracts.

Others have also appeared in the Outapi magistrates’ court for similar charges. These cases are part of over a 100 others being probed by Inland Revenue.

A senior finance ministry source also claimed that the finance minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila clashed with Shivute when his team informed the minister that there were people in Windhoek’s affluent suburbs who drive cars worth millions but pay less tax than that paid by civil servants.

The source further said that Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila was allegedly pressurised by those being pursued by the taxman to push Shivute out.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has denied the claim that she pushed Shivute out, saying that his secondment had ended.

“I am not aware of any businessperson involved in corruption whom I am defending. I am challenging whoever is saying that to come forth with evidence of me protecting corrupt businesspeople,” she said.

Pleading ignorance to reports that he was pushed out, Shivute said: “My secondment came to an end. I am happy to have served my country.”

Shivute’s detractors, however, said he never showed an interest in the position because he never applied even when it was aertised twice during his time as Commissioner of Inland Revenue.

The detractors said Kuugongelwa-Amadhila does not interfere in daily activities at the ministry, making it unlikely that she personally was involved in the investigations on tax dodgers.

Source : The Namibian