Shadoof Baaitse guns for BURS

Sharon Mathala

• BURS to oppose Baaitse in court

Almost a year after suffering humiliation at the hands of the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS), Flamboyant Businessman and Pastor Shadreck ‘Shadoof’ Baaitse is taking government to court.

Baaitse of the Serowe glass house fame is a hard man to track down.

After weeks of turning down the interview, The Voice finally caught up with the man- a confidante of former President Ian Khama and former Spy Chief, Isaac Kgosi at the Golf Estate Club house.

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Baaitse was subjected to a lifestyle audit as BURS and FIA invaded his company books of accounts in 2019.

Background of the matter is that on August 29th, 2018 his company, Prevailing Securities was targeted by BURS tax assessment.

The Tax assessment amongst others required the company to submit company background information, sales ledger, purchase ledger and invoices, revenue receipts, creditors list, trial balance, bank statements, directors’ bank statements, income statements, value-added tax control accounts and contract agreements amongst others.

Seeking to redeem himself, on August 20th Baaitse filed Fresh court papers, which he delivered to BURS to challenge the P70million BURS debt.

“On 30 January 2019 the respondents (BURS) issued two notices of assessment. In respect of the value added tax, the respondent acknowledged inter alia its assessment receipt of documents from Prevailing Securities in September 201. The respondents issued a total additional assessment of P 7 179 977.92 for the period of January 2013 to December 2017. In addition, it imposed penalties of 200 % bringing the total penalties charged to P 14, 359, 955.85, which I find excessive and shockingly punitive,” reads a letter Baaitse delivered to BURS on August 14th.

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The papers further state that, “It is to be noted that Prevailing Securities had provided the documents the respondents allegedly mentioned as not been provided.

In the letter of August 17, 2018, the respondents never sought tax invoices as part of the documents it sought from Prevailing Securities.

The issue of the tax invoices only came up for the first time in the letter of 20 January 2019.

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In his defence Baaitse argued that it was not true that Prevailing Securities understated its income.

“The position was that prevailing securities received two types of income. The first income arose from ordinary course of business. The other sources came from non-income activities. These activities were not tied to the contractual income with different customers,” Baaitse said.

He further stated that the non-income activities included reversed installments, dishonored cheques, reversed stop orders, intercompany fund transfers, temporary loans, insurance claims, funds deposited from other bank accounts of the company to meet expenses as well as rejected salaries from employees bank accounts.

Objecting to the tax collector’s income tax assessment findings, Baaitse said BURS erroneously treated deposits as income.

“In fact the respondent states that in its letter that the deposits were treated as business turnover as they were from company customers. The respondent total amount levied as outstanding assessment was P 56 703 843.34,” he alleged.

“The respondent has not responded to the objections raised. Whilst the objection was still pending the respondent wrote to various debtors of Prevailing Securities garnisheeing income that was due to the company. One such debtor is the Botswana Police,” further reads the papers.

Baaitse has since asked the court to review and set aside the P 7, 179, 977.92 additional VAT assessments against his company as well as the 200% imposed penalties.

The embattled businessman has also asked the court to consider granting an order directing BURS to conduct a fresh tax assessment.

This week BURS submitted a notice to oppose Baaitse.

Back to the meeting, Baaitse admits he owes tax just like any other businessman could owe. He however vehemently denied it is up to the tune of over 70 million pula.

Asked why he thinks he was being unfairly targeted, Baaitse refused to go into details but said, “I lent (President) Khama one my aircrafts when Government refused to lend him.

That is why I am being vilified. State organs should not be used by politicians, but let’s see how this one plays out in court.”

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