22 November 2017

Namibia: Egyptian-Owned Firm in Vat Fraud Spotlight ... Imalwa Assesses Case Against Egyptian - Owned Entity

Prosecutor general Martha Imalwa is perusing a docket involving a case where an Egyptian-owned company allegedly manipulated invoices to lower the VAT payable on goods worth N$23 million.

She will then decide whether or not to prosecute the company, IBB Military Services and Accessories Supplies, owned by Muhammed Omar, which was awarded three tenders by the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) since 2014.

The tenders included the N$48 million scanners tender and the surveillance equipment tender worth N$150 million.

Anti-Corruption Commission chief investigator Nelius Becker confirmed this, saying the case was investigated during a search carried out at IBB's offices this year.

A docket had been handed to the prosecutor general's office last Tuesday.

The scanner tender was hit by controversy in 2014 when it was discovered that the scanners could not detect explosives, prompting the police to seek a software upgrade the following year.

Omar had blamed the fact that the scanners could not detect explosives on the NAC for not having specified this in their requirements.

IBB also got another contract for maintenance of the same scanners from the NAC worth around N$10 million early last year, but the contract was later cancelled.

Becker said the ACC has finalised its investigations based on alleged falsification of the documentation presented to customs by IBB Military.

"The company was supposed to pay VAT of N$3,8 million on imports valued at N$23 million, but allegedly manipulated the invoices to pay only N$323 000 on a manipulated value of N$1,9 million," said Becker.

He said the docket was first forwarded to the prosecutor general on 22 September, and returned to them on 2 November 2017 for clarifications.

"The case docket was resubmitted to the prosecutor general today (last Tuesday)," he said.

Various contracts awarded by the NAC have been under scrutiny by the ACC over the years, because corruption is suspected to have taken place.

Although Omar refused to answer questions yesterday, sources close to him said the alleged full amounts had been paid up, and that IBB had done nothing wrong.

The Rodgers Kauta-led board has sworn to root out corruption at the NAC, has since cancelled various contracts, and suspended four top management executives, including former CEO Tamer El Kallawi.

Imalwa yesterday said she could not comment as she was out of the office.

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