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Zim revenue authority pursues ‘errant’ Marange diamond firms - report

18 april 2014

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) is said to have moved to garnish accounts of Marange diamond mining companies to recover a combined total of $45 million owed in taxes.
The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying that the revenue body was under pressure to increase revenue collection in the face of a swelling liquidity crunch.
The sources alleged that Marange owed $5 million, Mbada $22,4 million, DMC $11 million and ZMDC $18,3 million.
Zimra refused to comment on the matter.
“The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority staff is precluded from divulging taxpayer information to third parties by legal provisions which are contained in the Revenue Authority Act (Chapter 23:11) and other fiscal laws which the authority administers,” said Zimra director of legal and corporate services wrote Florence Jambwa.
“Doing so will attract a jail term without the option of a fine. I am, therefore, unable to comment or confirm whether the requested information is true or not because the reason is stipulated above. I hope you will find this response useful in the compilation of your article.”
Mbada, which allegedly owes the biggest chunk, had already received two garnishee orders in the past four months, reports the weekly newspaper.
Mbada corporate services executive George Manyaya also refused to discuss the company’s tax obligations, but unnamed company sources, told the weekly that the diamond miner acknowledged the tax liability, but they, along with other firms, had been paying taxes in advance to assist the government during difficult times.
“Yes we owe Zimra, but $22,4 million is an exaggeration. We have been making advance payments to the government, bailing them out with cash to pay civil servants’ salaries among other things,” said one source.
“All of this was on the understanding that these would be viewed as part fulfilment of our tax obligations and therefore even if we owe, there is no way the figure can be that high,” said the source, adding “we are currently negotiating with Zimra to rectify the issue.”

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished