Tuesday, October 3, 2017

TRA shuts Manji firm over Sh12bn tax bill

Pedestrians pass near Quality Plaza offices

Pedestrians pass near Quality Plaza offices located at Quality Center in Dar es Salaam that closed by Tanzania Revenue Authority yesterday. PHOTO | SALIM SHAO 

By Rosemary Mirondo and Alfredy Zacharia @TheCitizenTz

Dar es Salaam. In what looks like no end to woes facing the renowned famous businessman Yusuf Manji, the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) yesterday closed one of Manji’s companies known as Farm Equipment.

TRA statement said the offices have been put under the lock for the company failure to pay taxes to TRA to a tune of Sh12.2 billion. The Taxpayer Education director at TRA, Mr Richard Kayombo, told The Citizen that the moves comes after the authority tried to communicate severally with the office to no avail. “We tried to communicate with the company manager several times, including sending an official letter on August 15, this year but we did not get any response,” he stressed.

According to him, the money includes income tax, withholding tax and value added tax (VAT).

Adding that TRA was open to further discussion with the businessman on how he was going to pay the outstanding debt.

Farm Equipment (Tanzania) Limited, (FETL) is a company dealing in sales and service of farm machinery, spare parts, tools and equipment.

The Citizen visited the offices whicha re located along Pugu Road.

A watchman, who didn’t want to be named in the paper said TRA locked the offices at around 10 am.

“It was around 10 am, when TRA oficials in collaboration with Yono Auction Mart and Company Ltd, locked the office and ordered workers to vacate,” said the source. Mr Manji has been facing several challenges since beginning of this year, others including the arm of the law.

Other challenges include prospects of losing his position as Mbagala Kuu ward Councillor, after he failed to attend six full council meetings consecutively. It was confirmed September 6, this year by the Temeke Municipal Mayor, Mr Abdallah Chaurembo, who said Mr Manji has breached section 8, article 25(5) (a) (b) of the local government’s act of 1982 and the municipal regulations.

He stressed that Manji had missed six full council meetings consecutively something which denied representation to Mbagala Kuu residents.

Therefore, he wrote to the Minister in the President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Governments as it is required by the law.

However, the decision was made while Manji was under custody for months pending hearing of economic and national security charges levelled

against him by the state. He was, however, freed after the Director of Public Prosecution said that he had no interest in pursuing the charges.

Other misfortunes facing the businessman include the decision by President John Magufuli to revoke ownership of his 714-acre farm in Kigamboni, Dar es Salaam.

Yusuf Manji, CEO of QGL (Quality Group Limited), before his early retirement was one of the most reputed businessman in Tanzania. He heads a $700- million conglomerate in a wide range of sectors including automobiles, real estate, facilities and trade.

He is also a representative of TANPERCH (a QGL company) is the Chairman of the Tanzanian Industrial Fishing and Processors Association.