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Wage Subsidy Scheme Unveiled Dubious Companies – Burs

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  •  Due diligence at BURS reveals discrepancies in info provided
  • Certain companies come under Finance investigation

SESUPO RANTSIMAKO

While some companies claim that Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) owes them money in wage subsidies, the taxman says companies that provided suspicious information were not paid but were instead reported for investigation.

Some companies say they have not benefited for the entire three month period that was stipulated by BURS while others say they only partly benefited from the government scheme to relieve companies affected by the nationwide lock down for COVID-19 in April.

The Managing Director of Motions Co. Investments, Tshoganetso Better, says his company benefited for only two months, April and May. According to him, upon enquiring he was told that there was an error in the BURS system that captures information provided.

“The response we got from BURS was that their system was only picking applicants who submitted information the 15th of every month,” he says. “They told us that they had identified the problem and they would rectify it. For the month of June, I paid my employees half salaries with the intention of paying them the balance as soon as I received the outstanding subsidy. But BURS keeps telling us that the payment is being processed.”

Among other companies with similar complaints are Supa Force Supermarket, Senthufe’s Kompone (Pty) Ltd and Beauty Girls Investment. The MD of Supa Force Supermarket, Mathodi Modisapodi, says her company never received any subsidy from BURS despite submitting applications for each of the three months. “What I only receive from BURS are messages notifying me that payments will be made in due course,” she told The Botswana Gazette.

However, BURS is adamant that no company is still owed any subsidies. “No applicants who provided full information has not been paid,” said BURS spokesperson, Mable Bolele, adding that some of the companies making such claims would have provided wrong or inadequate information. “Some of the companies that did not receive their payments provided banks accounts with overdrafts or turned up to be dormant,” Bolele said. “What this means is that the money bounced back when we credited the bank accounts or it was channeled to clear the account’s debt.”

She disclosed that BURS forwarded the names of certain companies to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development for further investigation arising from questionable information they provided and that such companies did not receive subsidies. “These companies provided questionable information and we did not approve them but forwarded them to the ministry for investigation,” she added.

A spokesperson of Finance, Fenny Letshwiti, has confirmed that BURS forwarded companies whose information had discrepancies, especially in the course of the second batch of claims when due diligence was heightened. The discrepancies identified were in mismatch of information, dormant bank accounts and wrong identity numbers. “As a result, some of these companies benefited only once or twice,” Letshwiti said.

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