The Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has suspended 34 clearing agents over a transit fraud scheme reported in the Auditor General’s (AG) report where the country lost K96,313,164, according to Secretary to the Tresury Fredson Yamba.
The AG’s report on the accounts of the republic for the financial year ended 2019 reported that 551 removal in transits with guaranteed amounts totalling to K96, 313, 164 which had entered the country but had not exited and were not accounted for.
Appearing before the parliamentary public accounts committee, Friday, Yamba said the treasury had instructed ZRA to immediately suspend all clearing agents involved in the scam adding the directive had since been undertaken.
“551 removal in transits with guaranteed amounts totalling to K96,313,164 which had entered the country but had not exited and were not accounted for. A review of the record carried out in 2020 revealed that the practice had continued in that 752 removals in transit with guaranteed amounts totalling 47,180,798 that entered the country through several ports during the period under review had not exited the country as at 31 August 2020. Further there was no evident that ZRA had redeemed the bonds. The auditor general’s observations was noted and a direct order was issued to the Zambia Revenue Authority to immediately suspend the clearing agents for the 748 removals in transit which action has since been undertaken,” he said.
“The current status is that the 34 clearing agent have since been suspended and the bond redemption process commence recovery of the taxes. 13 clearing agents of the 47 agents have appealed their suspension and availed documentation to support their appeal. The Zambia Revenue authority is currently reviewing the documents related to the outstanding removals in transit appearing on the accounts. The final report will be availed to the office of the auditor general for verifications.”
Meanwhile Yamba said the Treasury’s budget and economic division will be reviewing the VAT legislative statutory instrument to curtail tax avoidance and evasion by companies.
“The Zambia Revenue Authority has since assessed the identified that tax payers in audit and established that the revenue in question were either deducted by withholding tax agency or among those pending further assessment. Withholding tax agent Konkola Copper Mine (KCM) for instance, withheld taxes for 25 of the 33 cited taxpayers with a total value of K8,397,578. While the K44,514,039 was transacted by eight tax payers through Choppies limited and have since been issued with notices of immediate settlement of taxes,” said Yamba.
“The assessment notices and the amount of taxes of the withholding tax agent shall be availed to the office of the auditor general for verification. In order to claim the VAT processes, the Treasury through the budget and economic division will be reviewing the VAT legislative statutory instrument to curtail tax avoidance and evasion by companies.”