Prevailing Securities which is currently placed under Judicial Management, has through its attorneys written to the Commissioner General of Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) on July 7th 2020, seeking that the P82 million tax assessment for both VAT and Income they were slapped with in early 2019 be re-visited as agreed failure of which they will approach the High Court for review.
In a letter penned by Serole and Partners, Shadrack Baaitse who is the owner of Prevailing Securities said the Income Tax Assessment according to BURS letter dated 30th January 2019, was based on all deposits held at First National Bank, Bank Gaborone and Standard Chartered Bank in the company accounts.
He noted that these deposits were treated as “income” by BURS and business “turnover” as they were coming from the “company customers”. Baaitse said the explanation given for treating the income as turnover was that the company had failed to provide records demanded on numerous occasions.
“It is to be noted that, the company has always provided documents needed by your office,’’ said Baaitse. “Client instructs us that upon receipt of notice of assessment in the total sum of P81, 766, 882, 46 (VAT and Income Tax inclusive) it submitted a detailed list and/or account of matters which were not taken into consideration when they ought to have been at the time of assessment.’’
Serole and Partners write that on numerous occasions, both telephonically and in person through its Directors and Judicial Manager, they attended to BURS to request for reassessment.
“You have on a number of occasions promised to attend to the reassessment on the submitted information but all has been futile,” the lawyers stated.
The lawyers said that in their opinion the client’s request and demand is not unreasonable as it makes it difficult for the client to lodge a substantive objection without a reassessment as promised, which would incorporate the submitted information and reflect how the amount claimed was arrived at.
“Interestingly, despite demands from Client to do a reassessment you have proceeded to attach and seize client’s monies from its creditor’s property and even failed to pay employees’ salaries. Your acts have as a result crippled business to an extent that Client has not been running,” they said.
The attorneys alleged that further to demonstrate mala fide, the tax master, contrary to the judicial management orders, deliberately continued with his acts aforementioned.
Prevailing Securities once again demanded for the reassessment as agreed and as of today (July 16), BURS has not responded to their letter. “It is our intention to be tax- compliant and we have no intention of not paying what is due to the taxman. However, it should be noted that, the VAT and Income Tax Assessment by yourself makes erroneous assumption.
“First it fails to recognize inter- banking transfers by the company by treating such transfers as payments and income from customers, when in fact and in truth, this is not income or turnover.
“Secondly, the assessment treats the so called income as net profit as well as gross profit for levying tax, without taking into account expenses.
“Thirdly, the assessment has included loans from financial institutions, obtained by the company for purposes of running the business as income or turn-over from customers,” the lawyers contended.
According to the letter, these are some of the errors made by BURS, which have been previously brought to their attention. “You have chosen to deliberately ignore such concerns and proceed to impose extreme penalties on amounts done and payable resulting in the collapse of the business.
“That, you acted mala fide is evident from letters and execution. Client received Notice of Assessment on the 30th January 2019 without being provided with the findings of the Assessment. The next day, 31st January 2019, you attended to execute our client’s property” they said.
The letter also provide that on the objection, client filed with BURS, the difference between what is owed is less than P4, 000.00 as opposed to their P80, 000.00. On account of the above, client urgently requires a reassessment of both the Income Tax and VAT.
“Given the history of the communication between the parties should client not hear from you by the 15th July 2020, on its request for reassessment client will approach the High Court for review and set aside of your assessment,” read the letter.
Despite being hailed and still regarded as a hero who saved many lives through his decision to crash the BF5 fighter Jet around the national stadium on the eve of the 2018 BDF day, the deceased Pilot, Major Clifford Manyuni’s actions were treated as a letdown within the army, especially by his master-Commander of the Air Arm, Major General Innocent Phatshwane.
Manyuni’s master says he was utterly disappointed with his Pilot’s failure to perform “simple basics.”
Manyuni was regarded as a hero through social media for his ‘colourful exploits’, but Phatshwane who recently retired as the Air Arm Commander, revealed to WeekendPost in an exclusive interview that while he appreciated Batswana’s outpouring of emotions and love towards his departed Pilot, he strongly felt let down by the Pilot “because there was nothing wrong with that Fighter Jet and Manyuni did not report any problem either.”
The deceased Pilot, Manyuni was known within the army to be an upwardly mobile aviator and in particular an air power proponent.
“I was hurt and very disappointed because nobody knows why he decided to crash a well-functioning aircraft,” stated Phatshwane – a veteran pilot with over 40 years of experience under the Air Arm unit.
Phatshwane went on to express shock at Manyuni’s flagrant disregard for the rules of the game, “they were in a formation if you recall well and the guiding principle in that set-up is that if you have any problem, you immediately report to the formation team leader and signal a break-away from the formation.
Manyuni disregarded all these basic rules, not even to report to anybody-team members or even the barracks,” revealed Phatshwane when engaged on the much-publicised 2018 incident that took the life of a Rakops-born Pilot of BDF Class 27 of 2003/2004.
Phatshwane quickly dismisses the suggestion that perhaps the Fighter Jet could have been faulty, “the reasons why I am saying I was disappointed is that the aircraft was also in good condition and well-functioning. It was in our best interest to know what could have caused the accident and we launched a wholesale post-accident investigation which revealed that everything in the structure was working perfectly well,” he stated.
Phatshwane continued: “we thoroughly assessed the condition of the engine of the aircraft as well as the safety measures-especially the ejection seat which is the Pilot’s best safety companion under any life-threatening situation. All were perfectly functional.”
In aircrafts, an ejection seat or ejector seat is a system designed to rescue the pilot or other crew of an aircraft in an emergency. The seat is propelled out of the aircraft by an explosive charge or rocket motor, carrying the pilot with it.”
Manyuni knew about all these safety measures and had checked their functionality prior to using the Aircraft as is routine practice, according to Phatshwane. Could Manyuni have been going through emotional distress of some sort? Phatshwane says while he may never really know about that, what he can say is that there are laid out procedures in aviation guiding instances of emotional instability which Manyuni also knew about.
“We don’t allow or condone emotionally or physically unfit Pilots to take charge of an aircraft. If a Pilot feels unfit, he reports and requests to be excused. We will subsequently shift the task to another Pilot. We do this because we know the risks of leaving an unfit pilot to fly an aircraft,” says Phatshwane.
Despite having happened a day before the BDF day, Phatshwane says the BDF day mishap did not really affect the BDF day preparations, although it emotionally distracted Manyuni’s flying formation squad a bit, having seen him break away from the formation to the stone-hearted ground. The team soldiered on and immediately reported back to base for advice and way forward, according to Phatshwane.
Sharing the details of the ordeal and his Pilots’ experiences, Phatshwane said: “they (pilots) were in distress, who wouldn’t? They were especially hurt by the deceased‘s lack of communication. I immediately called a chaplain to attend to their emotional needs.
He came and offered them counselling. But soldiers don’t cry, they immediately accepted that a warrior has been called, wiped off their tears and instantly reported back for duty. I am sure you saw them performing miracles the following day at the BDF day as arranged.”
Despite the matter having attracted wide publicity, the BDF kept the crash details a distance away from the public, a move that Phatshwane felt was not in the best interest of the army and public.
“The incident attracted overwhelming public attention. Not only that, there were some misconceptions attached to the incident and I thought it was upon the BDF to come out and address those for the benefit of the public and army’s reputation,” he said.
One disturbing narrative linked to the incident was that Manyuni heroically wrestled the ‘faulty’ aircraft away from the endangered public to die alone, a narrative which Phatshwane disputes as just people’s imaginations. “Like I said the Aircraft was functioning perfectly,” he responded.
A close family member has hinted that the traumatised Manyuni family, at the time of their son’s tragedy, strongly accused the BDF ‘of killing their son’. Phatshwane admits to this development, emphasising that “Manyuni’s mother was visibly and understandably in inconsolable pain when she uttered those words”.
Phatshwane was the one who had to travel to Rakops through the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) aircraft to deliver the sad news to the family but says he found the family already in the know, through social media. At the time of his death, Manyuni was survived by both parents, two brothers, a sister, fiancée and one child. He was buried in Rakops in an emotionally-charged burial. Like his remains, the BDF fighter jets have been permanently rested.
A matter in which former President Lt Gen Ian Khama had brought before Broadhurst Police Station in Gaborone, requesting the State to charge Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) lead investigator, Jako Hubona and others with perjury has been committed to Headquarters because it involves “elders.”
Broadhurst Police Station Commander, Obusitswe Lokae, told this publication this week that the case in its nature is high profile so the matter has been allocated to his Officer Commanding No.3 District who then reported to the Divisional Commander who then sort to commit it to Police Headquarters.