The Tax Authority (AT) announced on 1 November that it has discovered schemes, driven by organised crime syndicates, that have, since 2013, syphoned off more than 180 million meticais that should have been paid in taxes (US$2.95 million at today's exchange rates, but worth much more in 2013).
According to a report on Radio Mozambique, the assistant general director of taxes, Domingos Muconto, explained that the scheme involved accountants, some company officials, and banks.
Essentially, it consisted of diverting cheques which should have been paid to AT tax collection units into bank accounts opened in the names of fictitious bodies. The criminals got away with this by choosing names which sounded plausible.
Muconto said the AT had found accounts opened in the name of "Unidade de Grandes Comsumidores" ("Unit of Large Consumers"), which bears a superficial resemblance to the name of the genuine AT department, the "Unidade de Grandes Contribuintes" ("Unit of Large Taxpayers").
Significant sums intended for the Maputo Unit of Large Taxpayers have been diverted away from state coffers.
However, according to Muconto, "once the fraud has been detected, the AT has the prerogative to notify the taxpayer that he, regrettably, has a tax debt, which will have to be paid, with penalties for failing to meet payment deadlines".