Politically connected businessman, Satar Dada’s fighting mettle has rewarded him with a win at the Court of Appeal in a case where he was challenging a tax assessment by Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS). The Court of Appeal order set aside a previous ruling of the Lobatse High Court which dismissed Dada’s prime business, Motor Centre Botswana’s claim that the amount it had been taxed had been sustained in the ordinary course of business and in the production of income.
Motor Centre had sought to deduct the amount of around P12 million from the loss of P53 million.The new ruling means however that, Motor Centre will now get a new assessment for the 2009 tax year. Before taking its matter to the High Court in Lobatse, Motor Centre had approached BURS’s board of Arbitration for recourse where it emerged unsuccessful.
Appeal judge C Howie stated that the board’s approach was in conflict with what the rules of such cases lay down. He further continued that it resolved to adhere to the agreement rather than to have regard to what was unsatisfactorily proved to have been happening on the ground and accordingly misdirected itself fundamentally.
According to Justice Howie, Justice Radijeng of the High Court also fell into the same trap, when he presided over the matter. “The High Court succumbed to the same error, holding that the facts were set out in the agreement and not as presented by Motor Centre.” He further continued that the court went further to hold that Motor Centre could not introduce evidence to contradict the terms of the agreement noting that, such an action constitutes an evidential principle applicable to construction of contracts which normally applies between the contracting parties.
Howie further buttressed his point by stating that the evidence to contradict a written contract is indeed receivable if the purpose is to show that the agreement does not accord with true facts.He further stated that while it is not in dispute that if the loss was sustained in the course or arising out of foreign exchange transactions as alleged then it was deductible from assessable income and that conversely, if it was sustained as a result of non-payment of a loan then it was of a capital nature and not deductible.
In an initial assessment BURS was of the view that the loss was sustained when a loan to an unrelated company, Lobtrans Pty Ltd became irrecoverable and that the loss was accordingly of capital nature and not deductible. The case dates back as far as 2008 when Motor Centre had written to BURS seeking clarity on how it was to treat the tax consequences of losses it had incurred in its dealings with Lobatse Cash stores and Lobtrans which are owned by a certain Mr Abdul Samad Asmal. Asmal is described as a member of the local Muslim community and was known to the Dadas.
Motor Centre fell into its conundrum after it borrowed Lobtrans a sum of R50 million which it needed for expansion and working capital.Motor Centre also argued in its heads of argument that the Board of Arbitrators misdirected itself in its judgment and stated that it was the duty of the board to ascertain the legal nature of the transaction that occurred to which the taxation laws are to be applied. “By defining the issue the way they did, the board ignored entirely the doctrine of substance over form,” the judge stated.
However, the Commissioner General of BURS stated in the responding affidavit that Motor Centre was let down by Yusuf Dada who signed an agreement without paying necessary attention to the content. “It is a matter of common knowledge that a person who signs a contractual document thereby signifies his assent to the contents of the documents, and if these subsequently turn out not to be to his liking he has no one to blame but himself,” BURS contended. “This is even more so if one decides not to read the document prior to signature. Mr Yusuf Dada exhibited his assent to the contents of the written agreement by way of signature,” BURS explained.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.