The Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA) yesterday confirmed the arrest of two men, aged 51 and 33, on Monday in Windhoek for bribing a NamRA official.
The alleged bribe followed after a foreign business owner in the northeast of the country was issued with a tax liability of over N$8 million.
The business owner submitted forged invoices to fraudulently reduce the amount due to NamRA.
A statement issued by NamRA spokesperson Yarukekuuro Ndorokaze explained the tax agency launched an audit to determine the authenticity of the submitted invoices before adjusting the outstanding tax debt.
“While the investigation was ongoing, the taxpayer requested to see the NamRA officials, at which occasion an offer was made to the officials in exchange for reversing the tax debt,” the NamRA statement reads.
As such, a covert joint operation was set up between NamRA and the Anti-Corruption Commission.
NamRA officials then met the suspects on Monday to receive a N$100 000 bribe and subsequently arrested the suspects as they were handing over the money to the NamRA official.
“The cash, vehicle and everything used in the commission of the crime, including cellular phones, were seized and upon conviction could be forfeited to the State,” NamRA stated.
The two suspects were expected to appear in court yesterday on corruption-related charges.
They will also be charged with fraud and forgery, stemming from the misrepresentations and submission of fictitious invoices to NamRA.
“Further administrative and criminal proceedings will be pursued by NamRA as provided for in the applicable tax laws, including applications to attach assets,” Ndorokaze stated.
He added that NamRA has enhanced its investigative capacity after the approval of its Compliance and Enforcement Strategy earlier this year, with particular focus on detecting suspicious tax returns, while consolidating operations with other enforcement agencies.
The move is expected to further strengthen NamRA’s position on zero tolerance to corruption – whether involving taxpayers or staff.