TRA compels 30 EPA suspects to pay up Monday, 14 April 2008 By Daniel Said EAST AFRICAN BUSINESS WEEK DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA The EPA and the Richmond scandals, have taken a new twist following a decision by the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) to demand immediate payments of taxes by all those involved. In its demand note dated April 2, 2008 to 30 individuals and companies, the TRA has ordered the suspects in both EPA and Richmond scandals to pay taxes according to what they earned in the dubious transactions. The letter signed by a TRA official identified as Lusekelo orders that all the 30 individuals/companies are required to pay their taxes within 14 days as required by law. This means by this week, all payments must have been made to TRA. Although, the letters were sent to individual directors/companies, TRA expects to collect billions of shillings in the exercise. Every, individual/company has been assessed according to what he swindled from the EPA account. About $133 million was stolen from the External Payment Arrears (EPA) account of the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) by 22 companies. Following the discovery of the theft by an audit firm Ernst &Young, President Jakaya Kikwete terminated the services of the BoT governor, Mr Daudi Ballali. The BoT Board of Directors has suspended five senior officials of the bank whom its alleged might have been involved in the EPA scandal. However, three burning questions have been raised: That some of the money, to the tune of Tsh 60 billion has been given back to the Presidential Investigation Team under the Attorney General Johnson Mwanyika, PCCB Director General Edward Hosea and the Inspector General of Police Said Mwema. Another issue is the fact that a large amount of money bought property worth million of shillings in Tanzania and some abroad meaning that to get the required taxes may push the TRA to confiscate some of the suspects' property. Again the hilly task is the evidence that the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) is said to have been received a substantial amount of money from the EPA account. According to the source, CCM being one of the beneficiaries may also be required to pay the taxes as required by TRA. However, reports have it that CCM received the money in the form of donation as it can be done by any individual or company who wants to assist the party. But what a coincidence-all the 22 companies implicated in EPA, gave a donation to the ruling party at the time the country was heading for the 2005 general elections. Although the list includes all the directors of the 22 companies in the EPA scandal, only few names have been mentioned in relation to Richmond and no government official is on the TRA list. Tanzanias Prime Minister, Edward Lowassa, Minister for Energy and Minerals Nazir Karamagi, and the Minister for EastAfrican Cooperation Dr Ibrahim Msabaha resigned in February, 2008 for being implicated in the Richmond scandal. However none of them appears on the TRA list. The Probe committee observed that the award of the $172.9 million tender to Richmond was surrounded by dubious elements. To honour this controversial contract, Tanzania is paying Tsh 152million per day. On Richmond the probe Committee also recommended to the government the resignation of government officials including the Attorney General Johnson Mwanyika and the anti-corruption bureau boss Edward Hosea. Mwanyika was to resign because as Attorney General he failed to advise the government over the contract and avoid the losses .