Five arrested over electronic billing machine scam

Police have arrested five people suspected of forging Electronic Billing Machine (EBM) receipts to claim VAT refund from Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA).
Besides the slow uptake of EBMs, many unscrupulous businesses continue to manipulate the machines to either evade  or defraud taxes. File.
Besides the slow uptake of EBMs, many unscrupulous businesses continue to manipulate the machines to either evade or defraud taxes. File.

Police have arrested five people suspected of forging Electronic Billing Machine (EBM) receipts to claim VAT refund from Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA).

The suspects were arrested following a tip-off from the tax collector.

According to Police, preliminary investigations have since pointed at four companies involved in the scam; Bondas, Orange Machinery, Optimum and Moonlight.

According to the Central Regiona; Police Spokesperson, Emmanuel Hitayezu, three of the companies (Orange Machinery, Optimum and Moonlight) had acquired forged EBM receipts from Bondas bearing the same items, same prices, issued at the same specific time. They were using the receipts to claim a tax refund from RRA.

Precisely, reference numbers on the forged receipts were the same. Each of the company attempted to make a tax reclaim using receipt number 2031 bearing items worth Rwf3.3 million with VAT of Rwf500,000.

The same applied to receipt numbers 2000 and 2027 bearing items worth Rwf1.5 million and Rwf6.6 million, with a VAT value of Rwf228,000 and Rwf1.1 million, respectively.

The owners of the companies (Orange Machinery, Optimum and Moonlight) that attempted to claim VAT refund had acquired the receipts from Bondas Company.

Hitayezu commended efforts in overcoming illegal business activities, and for facilitating the apprehension of the alleged fraudsters.

“This should serve as an example to those in the business community who are planning to indulge in such activities. Sooner or later, we will catch up with them and they will face the law,” he said.

He added that such activities impede the country’s development agenda and warned the business community against getting involved in activities that undermine the economy.

Reacting to the arrest, RRA Deputy Commissioner in charge of taxpayer services, Drocella Mukashyaka, said: “People should ensure they are issued with receipts that correspond with the items that they have bought.”

“Also, whenever you buy an item, verify if the receipt you’ve been given bears the exact amount and items you bought and also in the name of the seller,” said Mukashyaka.

She observed that there are incidences where some people acquire EBM receipts yet they have not bought a single item.

“Normally, the intention here is to falsely claim VAT refund but the systems are built in a way that, such shoddy transactions are detected and that’s why we advise people to refrain from this malpractice,” Mukashyaka said.

The suspects are being held at Kicukiro Police Station.

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