- I have the cash, Boko says
- Boko’s billionaire friends step inm
- Accuses BURS of political schemesn
- “I don’t personally owe BURS,” he says
LAWRENCE SERETSE & KEABETSWE NEWEL
The South African Reserve Bank is yet to grant approval to funders of Opposition Leader (LOO) Duma Boko to transfer money into Botswana as settlement on his outstanding debt to the taxman, Boko revealed in an interview.
Under the captaincy of Boko, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in the past few days launched a heavily funded ten day campaign, in which the UDC President plans to round up the country using a Chopper and a Private jet, which have been unveiled recently.
In the wake of such a moneyed campaign, The Botswana Gazette conducted an interview with Boko, to understand whether or not he has sorted out his tax liabilities with the BURS, considering the well resourced campaign he has championed.
“I have the cash,” Boko replied in assertiveness. He said his attorneys in South Africa are only waiting for an approval from the SA Reserve Bank, and as soon as it is granted, they will transfer into the BURS account, all that is due to the taxman. Quizzed on how much money it is, Boko revealed that the money is just P576 000.
“Also note that the money is not owed by me personally, but rather by my company as an employer. The money owed is withholding tax, which means that the money was deducted from employees and had not been remitted to the BURS,” he said. A withholding tax is an income to be paid to the government by the payer of the income rather than by the recipient of the income. In this case, it is the money that Boko’s company has deducted and withheld from the salaries due to employees, and was yet to be credited to the BURS. In most jurisdictions, withholding tax also applies to employment income. They also require withholding tax on payments of interest or dividends.
According to Boko, a hullabaloo was created over his liability to BURS despite that it was only P576 000 while other people and companies owe BURS millions of Pula but have never been humiliated as was in Boko’s case. He said the noise made it seem like Boko is a non-complaint citizen who owes BURS millions of Pula.
“It was exaggerated deliberately to tarnish my name because they know I am a political heavyweight,”he said. Further, Boko clarified that while it was his company that owed BURS, there was never a separation between himself as an individual and his company as an independent legal entity.
“As for me personally, I do not owe BURS anything. I am as clean as a whistle. If I was not clean, this ruthless government would have long thrown me away,” he said.
Boko said considering his stature, there is no way he can personally fail to clear the BURS debt. He said even if he fails, he enjoys backing of wealthy individuals internationally, who believe in his vision and are ready to support him in any way. “When I say my supporters will handle it, I speak not of funny deals where kickbacks are expected from me in return. I get support from people who believe I can take Botswana forward for the betterment of everyone. There are no personal interests here, “he stated.
BURS followed Boko to his home a few months back and impounded his palatial Range Rover Special Utility Vehicle (SUV).
Boko’s troubles with the taxman are understood to have been sparked by the pledges he made to financially support UDC in the build up to general elections. He was quoted saying that he would buy vehicles for UDC constituencies amongst other things. It is believed also that Boko financed the Botswana National Front (BNF) national conference, which estimates place it around P2 million a few years back.