We did not call for the arrest of certain individuals over Tax Avoidance-ActionAid Zambia

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ActionAid Zambia Director Nalucha Ziba
ActionAid Zambia Director Nalucha Ziba

ActionAid Zambia has said that it has been falsely in some sections of online media that the organisation was calling calling for the arrest of certain individuals. In a statement made available to the media, ActionAid Zambia Director Nalucha Ziba said that her is a non-partisan organization, adding that ActionAid Zambia is very objective in all their work and that many people can attest to the fact that they have been very consistency calling for fair taxation of all.

Ms Ziba further said that in their earlier statement issued on the Paradise Papers, ActionAid Zambia did not mention any individuals or call for their arrest.

“Our position was clear- we called for an investigation by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) on any illegal financial transactions relating to offshore accounts and tax havens by public officials, High Net Worth Individuals, Corporates and Politicians,” read the statement.

“Our stance is that any illegal financial transaction should be criminalized as a lot of tax revenue is being lost by such, ” the statement said in conclusion

ActionAid Zambia Media Briefing
ActionAid Zambia Media Briefing

Below is the full statement .

MEDIA STATEMENT ON PUBLIC EXPENDITURE AND TAXATION

Members of the Press

ActionAid Zambia as part of its mandate to ensure that public resources are expensed for the benefit of the Zambian people.

As an organisations that is concerned with the alarming increase of misapplication of funds as evidenced in the 2016 Auditor General’s Report on the accounts of the Republic of Zambia Auditor General’s Report for the Financial Year ended 31st December 2016.

The accounts of misapplication of funds raised in the report affect the majority of Zambians as public service delivery is compromised and is evidence that Government is not prioritizing the immediate needs of the people.

Coupled with massive misappropriation of funds by public officers as revealed by the Auditor General’s office, the government has up to date not put in place strong internal control measures to ensure accountability.

As an institution that advocates for citizens needs to be turned into capabilities and EQUALITY for all Zambians, we feel compelled to comment on these issues and many other revelations made regarding the public procurement system and taxation.

We note with dismay that the provision of public services to the needs of the people of Zambia is being undermined by a few individuals that have decided to take advantage of the weak government structures by misappropriation of public resources.

Therefore, we would like to concur with Finance Minister Felix Mutati that all those found wanting in the Auditor General’s report must be prosecuted and pay back the money they have “stolen”.

We demand answers and governments commitment to ensure that the law enforcement agencies will bring the culprits to book. The crimes committed by a few selfish individuals should face prosecution despite existing loopholes in the Public Finance Act.

We therefore call for the immediate arrest of all public officers cited in the Auditor General’s report as this is an injustice to the tax payers and to the citizenry at large.

These resources, if expensed on need and priority would have led to the improvement of lives of many Zambians who are wallowing in abject poverty.

We note with sadness that despite the increase in misappropriation and misapplication of public funds as evidenced by the trend in the AG’s report of 2014, 2015 and 2016, we evidently have a weak public procurement system that has resulted in questionable contracts being awarded for the provision of goods and services to government.

We would like to implore government to put in place stringent measures that will call for increased accountability and transparency in the public procurement process. This measure will in turn enhance effective resource distribution.
Members of the Press

It is ActionAid’s appeal that our leaders be held accountable for public resources and exercise transparency in all these processes. The secrecy surrounding expenditure and procurement has led to erosion of trust of our leaders and this has an effect on effective delivery of services.

These misplaced priorities has led to many people being unable to access the basic services that government should provide, such as proper school infrastructure and learning materials, health care services and safe and clean drinking water to mention but a few.

As an institution we shall continue to observe these undertakings by government and call on all Zambians to demand for provision of public services.

Like we have stated before and I repeat, with all the revelations in the 2016 Auditor General’s report we have a “wasteful” public service system that spends more resources than the services it delivers.

Therefore we would like to urge government through the ministry of finance to expedite the process of amending the Public Finance Act in order to strengthen systems in government institutions.

TAX AVOIDANCE

Taxation is the most reliable way for an economy to raise money to finance public services. It is commendable that government through ZRA has over the years embarked on tax reforms aimed at easing tax payment and generating more tax revenue such as the Tax Online systems, appointments of tax agents, to mention but a few. However, more can be done.

The recent revelations in the Paradise Papers make references to public officials, private individuals and corporates investing in tax havens and offshore accounts. It is necessary that international transactions relating to tax havens are scrutinized for tax purposes.

A tax haven as you might be aware is a Jurisdiction whose legal regime is exploited by non-residents to avoid or evade taxes.

A tax haven usually has low or zero tax rates on accounts held or transactions by foreign persons or corporations, including the lack of effective exchange of tax information with other countries, lack of transparency in the tax system and no requirement to have substantial activities in the jurisdiction to qualify for tax residence.

Why then should Civil Society Organizations be worried about financial transactions relating to tax havens and offshore accounts; because the question of illegality and morality is put into effect.

The illegality aspect of shifting funds to tax havens stems from the fact that the profits accrued are not subject to audit and scrutiny by the Anti-corruption commission in the case of public officials and also ZRA, the Auditor General’s office and other state auditing agencies for tax malpractices in the case of private individuals and corporates.

The morality aspect stems from the fact that non-residents who shift these profits do have a moral compass that guides in declaring their profits so that they face a tax liability which mandates them by law to do so.

By being able to hide their profits and not subjecting them to their national tax authorities (country of origin from which the resources are obtained from) they strip their various countries of collecting revenue which can be used to foster public service delivery.

We urge government to investigate High Net-Worth Individuals (HNWI), corporate bodies and public officers operating offshore accounts and investing in tax havens. To this effect, those engaged in illegal financial dealings should be criminalized.

Government should take action to increase transparency in our tax system, starting with a public register of a beneficial ownership. This policy would reveal the true owners of anonymous companies and trusts, shining a light on the tax. In addition, government should close all the loopholes that allow for tax avoidance.

Lastly, it is being “FALSELY” reported in some sections of online media that we are calling for the arrest of certain individuals.

We wish to firmly state that ActionAid is a non-partisan organization. We are very objective in all our work, for those who have followed our tax work, they can attest to the fact that we have been very consistency calling for fair taxation of all.

Further, just to mention that in our earlier statement issued on the Paradise Papers we did not mention any individuals or call for their arrest.

Our position was clear- we called for an investigation by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) on any illegal financial transactions relating to offshore accounts and tax havens by public officials, High Net Worth Individuals, Corporates and Politicians.

Our stance is that any illegal financial transaction should be criminalized as a lot of tax revenue is being lost by such.

Nalucha Ziba
Country Director

36 COMMENTS

  1. Who on earth do action aid think they are.

    They are not fit for purpose.

    Saying Zambians are dull and they will give credence to this drivel

    Thanks

    BB2014,1016

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    • BA LSK TIMES PLEASE WHATS THE LATEST IN ZIMBABWE?

      Some of us are on record for making a prediction on what would happen in that country! It appears a certain dictator who has destroyed one of Africa’s most beautiful countries is now receiving a dose of Karma!

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    • 2020vision – Ba Lusaka Times have been told by their bosses “PF” not to say anything about the fact the Mugabe and family have been placed under house arrest, that the finance minister has been arrested plus some other ministers have also been arrested……………………………

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    • I have never stepped foot on your wife, daughter, niece, aunt, mum, grandma, what have i done for you to call for my arrest?

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    • But who allowed these people to get the money out of the country. Please examine your head before you comment.

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    • Nacula is hotty, but predecessor Pamela Chisanga is sexxier..
      Keep it up ActionAid, don’t still money like YALI and others.
      Make love people….

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    • For madly loyal Zim forces to act zim people have really had enough of sufffering under the PF regime. When enough is enough people react. Many zim people welcome this coup happily.

      I can not wait for the same to happen in Zambia soon.

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    • LT please we want proper coverage on Zimbabwe not this rubbish, we want to know what has happened to Lungu’s mentor. Let Lungu try to stand in 2021. We will make sure he is also kicked out like a rat. See now Mugabe’s gone to stay in Namibia. What a shame, leaving all the expensive luxury life behind.

      Ba Ester better advise your husband properly don’t listen to fake advisors to him. They will all run away.

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  2. A lot of words to confuse the point.
    Just say theft of public funds whether through corruption or tax avoidance by whosoever is concerned must attract punishment period.

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    • Action Aid have lost the plot. Their statement is all over the place with no direction. More like a cockroach dipped in ink and walking on paper. I miss Pamela Chisanga, she was focussed and to the point

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  3. But whats wrong with arresting thieves. Why should they sound apologetic? Are they now protecting people they are eating with? This is uncalled for. So to them thieves should not be arrested.
    This is disaster.

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  4. Tax avoidance is completely allowed and legal …thus any arrests would be abuse of power.
    Tax evasion is the one that’s illegal you ignorant ActionAid people .

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  5. Where were these stu..pit people before the paradise papers. These illiterate educated people are a problem. Just tell us who paid you because we know whom you are targeting.

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  6. year in and year out you hear in the auditor general’s report that money has been misappropriated, stolen, embezzled and extra. This is the same money which finds it self in offshore accounts. This Kanyama should have explained the source of the money which these civil servants put in these offshore accounts pantu salary yena teti.

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  7. IF MONEY HAS BEEN GENUINELY EARNED AND HAS BEEN PAYING TAX IN THAT PARTICULAR JURISDICTION, THEN ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO INVEST THAT MONEY HOWEVER THEY LIKE. I THINK ACTION AID IS CONFUSING US. HAVING OFFSHORE ACCOUNTS OR INVESTING IN TAX HAVENS IS NOT ILLIGAL IF DONE LEGALLY, IT IS A PRACTICE EVERYWHERE AND I DONT WHY THE FUSS IN ZAMBIA. I THINK WE NEED ALOT OF EDUCATION ON THIS MATTER.

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  8. After Sekuru Mugabe’s overthrow yesterday Jameson Lungu must be sleeping with one eye open from now onwards. All election riggers who steal power had better beware.

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  9. This is what happens when you just comment on anything and everything. You end up missing the point.
    The Paradise papers categorically said there is no illegality on the revealed papers. You Know guys, I can invest wherever I want. The decision is mine. That is why we are inviting foreign nationals to invest in Zambia and we call Foreign Direct investment (FDI). HH has been smart all the way.

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  10. Looks like the attempted laundry and dry cleaning by Chibamba Kanyama is not working. Me say lets investigate further, we want independent well informed statements and not statements by “self-centred individuals” like Kanyama and under5.

    I like term used by Stephen Sackur, “self-centred”, in reference to under5…. kikikikikikikikiki

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    • Investigation will yield nothing, trust me. Offshore accounts are created by master’s of the trade in global finances. Players on the stage are good at what they do compared to a fraud inspector on a civil servant’s wage.

      Did you know that the people who run the show on wall street ride a train to work while the people whose money they manage are chauffeured in a limo to the same place?

      Action Aid needs to go to school.

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  11. I like the statement by the military in Zimbabwe. Very responsible and genuine and “democratic” if I may say so, far more democratic than our very own under5, the one and only stand-up comedian “Mr Petition”.

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  12. Last time I visited ZRA I found a new system in place and sanity had been restored and corruption “eliminated “. But I was just too fast to praise them because this time around we’re back to square one.

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  13. @flag 2020vision; you’re LT an impossible question because LT while it is good; it is connected to PF and it can’t say anything yet until… At least Lungu will not have someone down South to run too; hope our military and police will say no to PF violence; and no to Lungu’s 3rd time bid; but time will come;

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  14. Terrible the state informed bugle again shows his intelligence by not addressing the topic but endeavouring to paint a blesk picture of UPND.
    Unfortunately by time i have to look at his divel i can’t be bothered commenting on self justifying organizations that only survive by funding not from working like the 78% of zambians still living in poverty despite the pro poor party being in power for 6 years.. everybody focuses on ecl for the past year but what has this pro poor regime done for the poor in the last 6 years. Firget the investment they talk about, any infrastructure improvement is is funded by borrowed money and then we pay the lender to do the work and bill us. Is this an intelligent government.

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  15. Owe ‘Terrible’: Chibamba Kanyama was attempting to educate and pump sense for most of you empty tins who comment on issues you don’t understand. Even here, there is absolutely zero substance in your comment apart from Under5, the only word you appear to have mastered. Even ZRA commissioners have now come out in the open that there is nothing wrong with offshore accounts PROVIDED investors pay due taxes in originating countries. That is all. Chibamba is a million times smarter than you…learn from him.

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  16. Sad when one is fighting for your cause your minds go to sleep arrest all wrong doers found in auditors report partisan living is unhealthy for our country be objective let suffering end with you not with your upcoming generation

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  17. Zambia is a TAX HAVEN form mining companies chain shops. And the Chinese, and the Egyptians and any major investor who comes to the country. Let’s improve our revenue collection from the investments in the country first. Let parliament come up with laws guiding Zabian on tax for those with accounts in a tax haven. Laws that will scrutinize the manner in which the wealth so invested was generated. That scrutiny will guide in how the country recovers lost plunder and deliver due justice and not merely to focus on an individual or individuals.

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  18. CALL FOR THE ARREST OF LUNGU AND HIS GROUP OF THIEVES FIRST. YOU USELESS GIRL BEING USED AS THOUGH YOU CAN SEE THE TREND OF THINGS IN ZAMBIA. FIRE TENDERS FOR ONE

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