Zimbabwe: Econet, Zimra Lock Horns Over U.S.$3m Refund

17 January 2020

Econet Wireless wants the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) to refund in foreign currency a US$3 million deposit it paid in December 2013 against the resolution of a tax dispute that the mobile telecomunications giant eventually won.

The firm has approached the High Court after Zimra failed to pay back the money and also wants interest at the prescribed rates from the time the deposit was paid to the time the revenue collector makes the refund.

Chief executive officer Dr Douglas Mboweni is the applicant while Zimra is cited as the respondent.

According to the court papers, Dr Mboweni is arguing that the payment was unjustly imposed on them by Zimra.

The State revenue authority placed Econet's bank accounts under garnishee orders in 2013 and ordered the telecoms company to pay US$3 million as a deposit to be refunded in the event Econet was found not liable to Zimra by the High Court or the Fiscal Appeal Court. If Econet had lost the tax case the deposit would be set off against what Econet was found to owe Zimra.

The High Court subsequently issued a judgment in December 14, 2015 setting aside an imposed penalty and the Supreme Court agreed in February 28, 2019, meaning Econet was entitled to the US$3 million refund.

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