Zimbabwe: Econet Sues Zimra for U.S.$3 Million Over 2013 Debt

15 January 2020

Telecoms giant, Econet Wireless (Private) Limited has dragged the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) to the High Court demanding a refund of US$3 million, which the revenue authority stands accused of unlawfully receiving in 2013.

Zimra was ordered by Econet Chief Executive Douglas Mboweni to pay back the money years back but has not taken action prompting the leading mobile operator to approach the courts.

In its application at the court, Econet said there was unjustified enrichment on part of Zimra.

"I am the CEO of the applicant and I am duly authorised to swear to this affidavit on its behalf," said Mboweni.

"Following garnishee orders that the respondent had placed on the applicant's bank accounts in the year 2013, applicant instituted an urgent High court application under case number HC10613/13 that culminated in an order issued by Justice Bhunu by the consent of the parties on December 13 2013 and signed by the judge on January 8 2014.

"The order said the applicant shall pay US$3 million to Zimra as a deposit to be refunded in the event that the applicant is found not to be liable to the Zimra by the court or by the Fiscal Appeal Court, or to be set off against applicant's liability in the event that applicant is found liable to the respondent (Zimra) in respect of this matter," he explained.

According to Mboweni, Econet paid US$3 million to Zimra on December 2013.

After that, the High Court issued a judgment on December 14 2015 in terms of which a penalty of US$47 654 830, 38 was imposed on Econet with a liability of US$15 884 943 , 46 before deducting the deposit already paid by telecommunications company.

Econet then appealed at the Supreme Court against part of the judgment, which upheld the appeal. The effect of this ruling was that Econet became entitled to a refund of US$3 million.

"Despite repeated demand made to its legal practitioners, respondent has failed to pay the amount of US$3 million. I am advised by the applicant's legal practitioners and I believe that the respondent's legal practitioners verbally indicated to the applicant's legal practitioners that its liability should be converted to Zimbabwe dollars at a rate of 1:1 in terms of Section 22 (1) of the Finance Act.

"The applicant needs the money to fund its imports and requires the same to be paid in US dollars into its Nostro Account," said Mboweni.

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