- Commissioner denies BURS meant to prop up Domkrag
- Commissioner insists BURS merely pursued tax delinquents
- MPs question why the zest is no more
- Lekau: “We can’t encourage tax delinquency”
The Acting Commissioner General of Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS), Segolo Lekau, has denied that his institution actively meddled in the 2019 general elections in favour of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party or that BURS ever harassed any politicians in the run-up to the elections.
BURS came under heavy criticism for what the opposition says was its relentless pursuit of the president of the Umbrella for Democratic Change, Duma Boko.
Appearing before the parliamentary committee on State Owned Enterprises yesterday, Lekau was adamant that was never the case. “It is not true that BURS was used to fight political battles (and was) chasing some of the politicians,” he asserted. “We don’t engage in political witch hunting as alleged.
“All people should comply, and whether it is the political season or someone is a politically exposed person does not matter to us. We want compliance. That we pursued some (politicians) in that period was just mere coincidence. We did the right thing as per the dictates of the tax law which all are subject to. It was not about political expediency.”
He said it was the same people that they were pursuing would seek public attention and invite the media. “With the much publicised helicopter situation, they were not declared and we had to follow up and demand answers. It’s standard procedure. We can’t encourage tax delinquency,” he insisted.
The Commissioner said they were always willing to listen and consider payment or compliance arrangement proposals from those in debt.
The Chairman of the committee, Nkange lawmaker Dr Never Tshabang, had asked the Commissioner to explain his 2019 election period zest to pursue certain politically exposed persons and his sudden low energy level after the elections.
Responding to a question from the MP for Molepolole South, Oabile Regoeng, about whether the controversial tax debt of the election period was settled, Lekau added that some properties were forfeited and had since been sold to recover the debt.
But the MP for Mahalapye West, David Tshere, insisted that BURS was used to the disadvantage of certain political players and said the taxman should invest in changing that perception.