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Man Put in Police Custody for Swindling Tax of FRW861 Million

Police have arrested one Musa Mbarushimana for allegedly evading taxes worth Rwf861 million through manipulating Electronic Billing Machine (EBM) invoices.

Mbarushimana was apprehended by the Revenue Protection Unit (RPU) on an arrest warrant issued by the National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) following an alleged tax fraud case filed by Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA).

RPU is a Rwanda National Police unit attached to the tax body to detect, fight, prevent and investigate cases related to tax evasion and smuggling, among others.

The suspect was paraded before the media, on March 24.

The Deputy Commissioner General in charge of Taxpayer Services at RRA, Drocella Mukashyaka said that in 2012 and 2013, Mbarushimana registered two companies called Darko Limited, a hardware venture and Eurobai Limited, which deals in general supplies.

“He later acquired two EBMs for both companies. In reality, these companies never existed; since 2013 he was issuing invoices of goods that he never sold,” Mukashyaka said.

She explained that Mbarushimana was instead issuing and selling invoices to other business people charging them 1 percent on every issued receipt, which amounted to Rwf861 million accumulated in the past two years.

“He sold EBM invoices to the traders who wanted to reduce on their output VAT (Value Added Tax) but our taxation system could report an error because there was no trace of the input VAT on his side. Sometimes he could even make transaction between his two non-existing companies so as to evade taxes,” said Mukashyaka.

She assured that the hi-tech facilities currently RRA uses can track down such malpractices.

“This should serve as an example to those in the business community who are planning or involved in such malpractices. We have no doubt, sooner or later, police will also locate and arrest others involved.”

The suspect, who was paraded before the media yesterday at RPU offices in Gikondo, collaborated Mukashyaka’s explanation.

“When I failed to start the businesses that I had registered, I resorted to this kind of malpractice, which I now regret; I advise anyone involved in similar offences to give up otherwise there is no escape,” Mbarushimana said.

Police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Celestin Twahirwa said “Such activities are against the law and impede the country’s growth and development plans, which police will never tire to fight them.”

He cautioned the business community against getting involved in such and other illegal activities that “undermine the business climate of the country.”

“Investigations will continue in order to have anyone involved in similar malpractices brought to book,” he added.

The Revenue Protection Unit has been instrumental in fighting fraud.

Between 2007 and 2013 alone, the unit recovered over Rwf4 billion that otherwise would have been lost through varied fraudulent businesses.

Between May and August last year, RPU also recovered about Rwf266 million in tax fraud. According to police such successful operations will be a source of strength to continue tracking down such wrongdoers for justice to take its course.

By Robert Muriisa.

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