Econet Wireless Zimbabwe on Friday 26 July 2014 put forward its views following a story that appeared in a local weekly that the mobile phone company had evaded taxes.
In a statement, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe accused a named whistle-blower of failiong to remit his taxes on income he earned while contracted to it as a clearing agent to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA). Econet further
alleges that the said whistle-blower converted the income and taxes due to ZIMRA to his own use. “When we demanded payment of the money, he alleged that he was involved in malpractices in collusion with some Econet employees, and threatened to expose the malpractices if Econet did not pay him. “Because the allegations he made were serious, we immediately reported the matter to ZIMRA and law enforcement agents through meetings our Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Douglas Mboweni, held with the authorities,” said Econet Wireless Zimbabwe. Econet added that their base stations were being imported duty free since 1998. “The classification of the base station components we imported under a duty
free tariff was communicated to Econet in writing, and the classification was followed over a 10 year period from the time when the Department of Customs and Excise fell under a separate Director of Customs and Excise, who is not the current Commissioner General of ZIMRA,” they added. However Econet Wireless Zimbabwe confirmed that ZIMRA tried to garnish about USD $15.8 million + 300% penalty last year over the tax evasion issue.
“A difference has now arisen between ZIMRA and Econet regarding the classification of base station components imported in knocked down form. “Garnishee orders that had been placed on Econet’s bank accounts over this matter for a capital amount of $15,884,943.46 plus a 300% penalty were lifted by an order of the High Court,” said the statement. In the article in the Financial Gazette of July 24, 2014 it said Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA)’s tax dragnet is pouncing on Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, which is entangled in a tax dispute with the country’s revenue
collector over alleged manipulation of invoices to evade tax.