NamRa tax fraud increases to N$136 million

Tujoromajo Kasuto

The Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRa) has discovered over N$ 136 million has been defrauded from the Agency through provisional tax refunds, a significant increase from the N$36 million announced mid-2022 before the agency moved to effect a moratorium on refunds in an effort to crack down on fraudsters.

NamRa’s Chief Strategic Communications and Support Engagements Officer, Jarukeekuro Steven Ndorokaze, says as of 10 January, 2023, a total of 921 taxpayers had been implicated in the scam, which has increased from 409 as reported in July 2022. He adds these taxpayers are employees of 56 institutions ranging from private companies, Government Offices, Ministries and Agencies (O/M/As) and public institutions. “The total refund under consideration is more than N$ 136 million, up from the last indicated amount of N$ 36 million announced in July last year. 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,” he says.

He further adds that 14 institutions have been appointed as agents to collect on behalf of NamRa as per section 91 of the Income Tax Act of 1981.Furthermore, to date, 50 criminal cases have been lodged with the Namibian Police (NAMPOL) and further action/s will follow as determined by Nampol.

“We, therefore, express our gratitude to all institutions that have aided our investigations and trust that we can rely on their continued support. As the investigations continue, we remain steadfast in carrying out our mandate of enforcing the revenue and customs laws and investigating any detected tax fraud cases,” Ndorokaze says.

This comes after the investigations began in March 2022 when it was discovered that N$15 million was paid out in refunds to underserving recipients through fraud and manipulation of the system. It was also alleged that individual taxpayers’ profiles were changed to the provisional status of farmers by mostly taxpayer representatives or bookkeepers; which is associated with taxpayers earning an income from sources additional to their employment such as farming.

Subsequently, the revised returns would be submitted with inflated deductions, which then result in tax refunds becoming due to the alleged affected taxpayer.

Since last July, only ten criminal cases had been registered with the police, as 409 alleged fraudsters from 17 institutions linked to the scam were identified, with the possibility of more being nabbed as the figure was likely to surpass N$36 million.

NamRa Commissioner, Sam Shivute, last year said the good thing is that the targeted people involved in the scam are all employed either in the private or public sector, so they are known and give NamRa the guarantee to recover all the amounts.

“A moratorium will have been linked to their name so that even if they resign, die or retire there will be no way they can evade it as we have to issue a tax directive in order for their pension to be paid out. So have complete assurance of total recovery,” vowed Shivute.

By Observer