Three arrested for alleged tax default, forgery

RIB spokesperson Modeste Mbabazi speaks to the media. Nadege Imbabazi.

Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) has arrested three businessmen for allegedly defaulting on payment of Value Added Tax through the Electronic Billing Machine (EBM) and forging tax stamps.

The spokesperson for RIB, Modeste Mbabazi, said that the suspects were arrested between Friday and Sunday.

One suspect, Mbabazi said, is being accused for forging 736 tax stamps used to mark wine, tobacco and liquors that have paid excise duty – a tax levied on specific goods produced for sale.

Mbabazi said that investigations were ongoing in order to arrest all suspects in the chain of crime.

“He is suspected of forging or partnering with forgers and selling forged tax stamps to manufacturers and sellers of wine, tobacco and liquors, who eventually evade taxes. Though he is claiming innocence, he has to show us all those who brought the stamps to him. Until now he is still a partner in crime,” he said.

If found guilty of forgery, the suspects could face imprisonment of between 5 and 7 years and/or a fine of Rwf300,000 and Rwf3 million.

The other suspects are being accused of defaulting the use of EBMs vouchers.

According to Drocelle Mukashyaka, the Deputy Commissioner in charge of taxpayer services at Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), the duo had refused to give EBM receipts to their client.

The client bought clothes worth Rwf750,000 and was given a delivery note – a document that accompanies goods shipment and lists their details but the businessmen refused to issue the EBM receipt to the client.

“The client called RRA but the businessmen were still reluctant to comply. Therefore, we closed their business but they reopened without our consent, which triggered the arrest,” she said.

According to Mbabazi, the two businessmen are accused of trying to distort evidence of the crime and failing to respect the law about tax payment, which could lead to imprisonment of between 6 months to one 1 year, if convicted.

Suspects’ claims

The suspect being accused of forging stamps said that he was given the stamps by some people from Uganda for selling.

“They had promised to pay me commission fee after selling. I knew it was illegal. When I got arrested, they ran away. I promise to help look for them as I am not the forger. They used to give me other labels to sell to a banana wine factory but I heard the factory was suspended,” he said.

The other two suspects said that RRA had called them to inquire if the claims by clients were true. The suspects say that the client had taken some consignment clothes for quality checking with hope that they would come back and take the rest.

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