Mr Koim made this bold statement after announcing the arrest of one officer and the dismissal of another for separate misconducts.
The terminated officer worked at IRC for 10 years, moving up the ranks to be a manager at the Debt Recovery Division (DLED). He used his position to print out a consolidated statement of accounts for particular taxpayer in 2019 which was subsequently used to extort money from that taxpayer. He was dismissed from IRC.
The stamp duties officer arrested is one Mr Mailu Malele. He admitted to receiving a bribe of K10,000 cash from a taxpayer in 2017 in exchange for writing off stamp duties concerning a property transfer.
He was charged with four separate criminal offences including official corruption. He is locked up at the Boroko Police Cells awaiting bail.
Police detectives of the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate (NFACD) acted on a complaint lodged by the Commissioner General and arrested and charged Mr Malele. He was picked up at IRC after he came out of a Record of Interview conducted by IRC Investigators relating to the same offence. Mr Malele was suspended without pay after he was arrested. Mr Malele is believed to be the subject of a number of similar investigations and this is just one of them.
Mr Koim added that “stamp duties section had been a high risk area where a lot of people are evading taxes and this arrest marks the beginning of a clean-up at that section. I am aware that contracts for sale of properties had been significantly undervalued for the sole purpose of distorting stamp duties and unfortunately, we have some learned lawyers and real estate agents actively engaging in that activity.”
“Bribery always takes two willing participants: the ‘bribe giver’ and ‘bribe taker’. Since taking office 10 months ago, I have been concentrating on cleaning our in-house and setting the foundations of our tax administration. We will soon turn the spotlight on fraudulent taxpayers. However, Taxpayers should never forget that there will always be a transactional trail that will catch up with them no matter how long it takes.” Mr Koim said.
“Since taking office, I have dismissed 10 officers for tax fraud related offences and 25 more are currently under investigation. IRC has zero tolerance for corruption and therefore established a very robust internal disciplinary process that judiciously deals with complaints against IRC staff.” He revealed.
Mr Koim said things like Certificate of Compliance, Tax Clearance Certificates and TIN, are free and no tax payer should be charged any money for that. Taxpayers should follow the normal process of obtaining these certificates instead of bribing officers to take shortcuts.
“IRC does not receive cash payments hence taxpayers and the public should not entertain any demand for cash payments.”
Taxpayers should weigh the gain from bribery against the cost of it if they are caught, before engaging in such illegal activities” Mr Koim concluded.
Taxpayer and the general public can report direct to IRC on any Tax Fraud and Criminal matters to this new TOLL-FREE number 180 1472.