24 March 2014

Mozambique: Tax Authority Threatens to Confiscate UN Armoured Cars

Maputo — The chairperson of the Mozambican Tax Authority (AT), Rosario Fernandes, has claimed that the assembly and attempted export of armoured cars for the United Nations involved assorted tax and customs irregularities, and has threatened that the vehicles could be seized, reports Monday's issue of the independent newssheet “Mediafax”.

The14 vehicles were seen on the streets of Maputo last Thursday, heading for the port. The United Nations office in Maputo said they had been assembled by a factory in the southern Mozambican city of Matola, and were being shipped to join the UN peace keeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

The factory concerned is a branch of the US company DynCorp International and the operation is funded by the United States is part of its contribution to the struggle to stop Mali falling back into the hands of Islamic fundamentalists. The US government has agreed to buy armoured cars, and other crucial equipment from seven African countries, including Mozambique, at a cost of 173 million US dollars, for use by MINUSMA.

But Fernandes claimed there had been illegalities in importing the vehicle parts and that the factory “is not yet a factory “, in that all the formalities to consider the Dyncorp plant authorized to assemble armoured cars have not been completed.

“It will be a factory when all the requirements have been satisfied”, said Fernandes. “This follows a procedure that must obey legal requirements”.

He said the Mozambican authorities are examining how the vehicle parts being assembled in Matola entered the country, and how Dyncorp began its Mozambican activities. In particularly, the AT wants to ensure that all the fiscal requirements demanded by law have been satisfied.

Fernandes said the situation must be regularized in 25 days. If that does not happen, the vehicles “will certainly be subject to the measures which the law envisages, such as seizure, or reverting in favour of the state”.

Apparently the regularization of the factory's operations in Matola is entirely the responsibility of DynCorp, and has nothing to do with the US government.

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