Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) is snooping around Lekidi football centre, following allegations that the centre, which houses both Botswana Football Association (BFA) and Botswana Premier League (BPL), has been evading taxes in the last few years-WeekendSport has learnt.
According to sources, it is said that BFA has tough questions to answer since it has come to light that their immediate affiliate, BPL has not being paying tax. The association, now under the stewardship of business guru, MacLean Letshwiti is expected to provide clarity because the premier league on its own is not an independent legal entity. The premier league reportedly owes the taxman close to P2 million from an unspecified period of time.
When fielding WeekendSport enquiries, BPL acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Thabo Ntshinogang conceded that, upon assuming office, he inherited the BURS debt. He however could not be drawn into revealing the amount saying some of the information should be confidential, all in the interest of the game. “Yes it is correct that my office owes BURS, but it is best you ask the association because you know the premier league is not an independent structure. More-over, understand that some of the information you are looking for cannot be given to you, just to for the image of football,’’ he said.
Sources have told this publication how the premier league has been struggling with the BURS tariffs for a long time now. The thrash about, information says, began sometimes in 2010-11 season when the premier league was spear headed by Mike Molefhe as the chairman and Setete Phuthego as General Manager.
It is said the two held several meetings with the tax collecting organization to plead for tax exemption but their plea fell on deaf ears. At the time; the premier league is said to have argued that the money in its circulation coffers was not theirs but rather belonged to the teams, but BURS hit back asking, to whom the teams belonged. The misunderstanding was never ironed out in the following seasons. Both the association and the BPL changed leadership, but the debt grew unnoticed. Money that is usually in league’s hands comes from their sponsors.
Marshlow Motlogelwa, Vice President of the association revealed that, “A payment plan between BURS and the association has been made.” However, Letshwiti’s right hand man refused to share how the plan was attained, altogether with its duration. According to penalties stipulated in the income tax Act of Botswana, the association faces heavy charges.
Article 117 of the same act states, “Where any person who is required to furnish a tax return including a withholding return for any tax year fails to do so within the prescribed time or any extended time allowed under section 77, he or she shall be liable to- (a) interest at the rate of two per cent per month on the amount of tax charged for such tax year, calculated for the period- (i)commencing 30 days after the date on which the return should have been lodged;
and (ii) ending on the date on which the tax becomes due and payable under the assessment made for that tax year under section 78, or 30 days after the day when the return was furnished; and (b) a penalty not exceeding the amount of tax chargeable for that tax year.”
Athletics is one of the sporting activities that for many years has been consistently performing extremely well in international competitions. One of the reasons is the availability of qualified and experienced coaches, who have been working tirelessly on the ground to ensure that they scout talent and develop more athletes.
For the first time after eons, football clubs plying their trade in the elite league are walking in the shadow of the undefined with nothing concrete agreed and on sight before the commencement of the football season.