The Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) has filed for appeal in their case against Prevailing Securities in which it demands millions of pula in taxes that were allegedly never declared by the company over the past 10 years, The Business Weekly & Review has established.
While details of the appeal still remain sketchy at this point, BURS Head of Compliance and Investigations, Kaone Molapo, has confirmed that the taxman has decided to appeal the case.
“It is true we have filed for appeal. This was done last week,” he told this publication briefly.
High Court judge Michael Leburu last month made an order setting aside BURS’ decision to impose over P50 million in taxes and penalties for the year 2014. He further ordered that BURS should reassess the company’s tax liabilities within 60 days.
“In my view, while bank statements may show the amount in the bank at any given point, they don’t indicate the company’s profitability, the various taxes collected or the deductions that a tax payer would be entitled to,” Justice Leburu said.
According to the judgement, a bank (statement) is thus not necessarily a reflection of the profitability or financial performance of a company and cannot always objectively be used to determine the profitability of a company or its VAT liability, given the allowable deductions permitted under Income Tax and Value Added Tax laws.
In an affidavit filed by Molapo in September 2020, BURS chief investigator made strong claims that the company did not declare all income deposited into its bank accounts by means of understating its taxable income between December 2012 and 2018.
He deposed in his affidavit: “The money deposited into the company’s accounts for the stated period amounted to P72 420 714 39, in contrast to turnover declared by the company over the same period for VAT as P19 600 974 00 and turnover declared for income tax as P24 8222 056 00. This demonstrates the company’s incomings over the periods understated by the company in its tax returns for both VAT and income tax.”
Prevailing Security is owned by Shadrack Baaitse, who is a pastor in the High Praise Christian Church and is known to have been close to former president Ian Khama and his enforcer former head of DISS Isaac Kgosi.
The company’s business activities include provision of security guard services, installation of closed-circuit television and cash-in- transit services. Prevailing Securities was under intensive investigations by the Directorate of intelligence and Security Service (DISS), BURS, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Botswana Police Service (BPS) soon after Khama stepped down as president in April 2018.
Meanwhile, Baaitse is also said to be demanding that BURS pay damages to his Mercedes Benz that is said to be valued at over P1.2 million. He is also said to be in the process of slapping BURS with a legal suit to compel the taxman to buy him a brand new Mercedes Benz.
Baaitse’s phone rang unanswered at the time of going to press.