- Police charge BURS witnesses
- Witnesses faces deportation
- Serving and former ministers importune BURS to drop case
A plot to kill the alleged P80 million tax fraud case against Chinese company Sunshine Construction (Pty) Ltd is believed to be underway while the witnesses are likely to be deported, The Botswana Gazette has established.
After this publication reported last month that Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) had concluded investigations and handed the docket to its legal department, a new twist is said to have emerged in which some of the key witnesses have been charged by the police with counts of stealing by servant and could be deported.
Sources at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) say a docket on the two BURS witnesses, who are of Chinese origin, has been sent to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP). The charges came after the owner of Sunshine Construction, Jian Liu, filed a case against them in which he alleges that they stole money and materials from the company.
Liu previously told this publication that he relocated to Canada in 2010 and left his niece and nephew as caretakers of his company. Upon his return, he alleged that he discovered that his niece and nephew ran an intricate network of fraud, tax evasion and money laundering operation that implicated his company and himself.
The accused, who are Liu’s relatives, deny any wrongdoing and say Liu used them to transfer money outside the country. They allege that all transactions were done under his instructions.
Some of the financial transactions seen by The Botswana Gazette show that in 2010, company accounts of Sunshine Construction held at BancABC, FNBB, Stanbic Bank and Barclays Bank were used to transfer more than P10 million to Royal Bank of Canada (Swift Code ROYCAT2), Vancouver, Canada where Liu’s family is said to be residing. He is also believed to have invested in property in both Canada and New York, USA.
Further, this publication understands that the witnesses could have long been deported immediately after Jian Liu opened his case against them but BURS requested extension of their stay in the country because it needed them for its investigations of dealings of Sunshine Construction. It is believed that deportation of these witnesses would to collapse the entire tax fraud case.
Sources also say certain senior government officials, as well as serving and former cabinet (names known to this publication) have attempted to interfere with the investigations. It believed that Liu has close relations with people in high places, including cabinet ministers.
Meanwhile, Sunshine Construction is said to have had a turnover of around P500 million between 2010 and 2018. It is also alleged that the company made profits exceeding P100 million during that period but only P7.5 million was surrendered in tax. The Botswana Gazette understands that Sunshine Construction won tenders from Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) worth more than P200 million.
BURS General Manager (responsible for) Investigations, Compliance and Enforcement (ICE), Kaone Molapo, would not be drawn into discussing details, saying BURS does not share investigations with third parties.