The number of people implicated in the massive fraudulent tax refund scam has increased from 409, as reported in July 2022, to 921 while the amount involved has escalated from N$36 million to an astronomical N$136 million.
The Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA) yesterday indicated these figures are applicable as of 10 January 2023 for the colossal fraudulent scheme uncovered in March last year that involved refunds being paid to underserving recipients through the illegal manipulation of the tax system.
In an update provided yesterday, the tax collection agency stated the ongoing investigation has implicated taxpayers who are employees of 56 institutions, ranging from private companies, government entities as well as public institutions.
“The total refund under consideration is more than N$136 million. Thus far, N$7.8 million has been recovered through various efforts. In line with the recovery process, 128 demand letters were issued to the implicated taxpayers. Fourteen institutions have been appointed as agents to collect on behalf of NamRA as per section 91 of the Income Tax Act, 1981 (Act No. 24 of 1981). We, therefore, express our gratitude to all institutions that have aided our investigations and trust that we can rely on their continued support,” reads yesterday’s statement from NamRA spokesperson, Yarukeekuro Ndorokaze.
He added that, to date, 50 criminal cases have been lodged with the Namibian Police and noted that further action will follow as determined by law enforcement officials.
“As the investigations continue, we remain steadfast in carrying out our mandate of enforcing the revenue and customs laws and investigate any detected tax fraud cases,” Ndorokaze stated.
Earlier this week, New Era reported that employees accused of defrauding NamRA are facing the full wrath of the law as the agency commenced with directly deducting the ill-gotten gains from their monthly salaries, without consent or a court order.
This publication has established that NamRA is now collecting monies from several employees implicated in the multi-million dollar tax refund scam, chief amongst them Standard Bank employees.
For the past few months, the implicated taxpayers have faced huge deductions from their regular salaries, to the extent many are unable to service existing financial obligations, including home and car loans.
Responding to questions from this publication last week, Ndorokaze said the long arm of the law has finally caught up with those who fraudulently claimed the tax refunds.
“NamRA appointed various employers in Namibia to deduct monies from employees’ salaries, who unjustifiably or fraudulently received income tax refunds which they could not substantiate when requested to provide the documentation under section 64 (1) and (2) of the Income Tax Act… The appointment of the employers as agents is done in terms of section 91 of the Income Tax Act,” he explained.
The agency initially raised the red flags in March last year when it was discovered that N$15 million in tax refunds was illegally paid out. The alleged modus operandi of the fraudulent scam was that revised tax returns were submitted with inflated deductions, which then resulted in fraudulent payouts of tax refunds.
Caption: Taxman… NamRA Commissioner Sam Shivute.