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Foreigners, TRA official arraigned over tax evasion

TANZANIA Revenue Authority (TRA) employee and two foreigners were on Friday arraigned here, charged with conspiracy, tax evasion and money laundering.

The charges relate to ownership and illegal transfer of 41 motor vehicles in Arusha and a premise at Kyameto Island in Musoma.

One of the prosecutors, State Attorney Materius Marandu told the Arusha Resident Magistrate’s Court on Friday evening that Portuguese Ricardo Retto, Cyprus national George Mavroudis, both tour operators, and TRA’s Gasper Swai, unlawfully transferred ownership of the vehicles without attaching the transfer of ownership agreement, evading tax payment.

Before Resident Magistrate Patricia Kisinda, the prosecutors alleged that having conspired to evade tax, all the accused, in the first and second counts, between 2016 and 2017 in Arusha, unlawfully transferred ownership of 26 motor vehicles from Sura Afrika Ltd to Toya Ltd, contrary to the Income Tax Act.

The makes of the vehicles are Toyota Land Cruisers, Scania and Leyland DAF. In the third count, another State Attorney, Innocent Njau told the court that on diverse dates between 2016 and 2017 within Arusha, being directors of Sura Afrika Ltd, Nyika Trade & Safari Ltd and employee of TRA respectively, the three accused unlawfully transferred ownership of two vehicles, Leyland DAFs from Sura Afrika Ltd to Tyche Ltd without attaching the transfer of ownership agreement, evading to pay tax.

Prosecutor Marandu said in the fourth count, 52-year old Mavroudis, the second accused and resident of Corridor Areas in Arusha, is alleged that between June 15, 2017 and August 30 this year, being a legal owner of right of occupancy of premises on Plot No. 1 ‘Kyameto Island’ (Lukuba Island Lodge) in Musoma district, leased the premises to Tyche Ltd of Arusha for consideration of 32,000 US dollars without paying tax.

Reading the fifth count, in money laundering, Mr Njau told the court that the first accused, 41-year old Retto, on diverse dates between 2016 and 2017 in Arusha, with intent to evade the legal consequences of his actions, transferred 15 motor vehicles from Sura Afrika Ltd in favour of Toya Ltd.

Mr Njau alleged that the accused did that while knowing that the vehicles are proceeds of predicate offence, namely tax evasion. Retto who resides at Olorien, Arusha, again features in the sixth count, on money laundering, in which he allegedly 651930001655980006between 2016 and 2017 with intent to evade the legal consequences of his actions, transferred from Sura Afrika Ltd two motor vehicles, Leyland DAFs, in favour of Tyche Ltd while knowing the vehicles are proceeds of tax evasion.

Mavroudis and Swai face the seventh charges in which they stand accused of jointly aiding and abetting the commission of transferring 12 motor vehicles, contrary to Anti-Money Laundering Act No 1 of 2012 and the Written Laws Act of 2016. Swai (43) is a tax assistant officer in Arusha office and resident of Kimandolu in Arusha.

The accused whom Advocate Regor Nkya represents were not allowed to enter any plea as the court lacks jurisdiction to hear their case, which Magistrate Kisinda adjourned to October 14 when it comes for another mention.

SECOND Vice-President Ambassador Seif Ali ...

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Author: DEUS NGOWI in Arusha

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