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The Mozambican Tax Authority (AT) has warned of attempts to set up phoney bank accounts in the name of the AT, to deceive unwary taxpayers, and divert money that should go to the Treasury into private pockets.
The deputy general director of taxes, Domingos Muconto, told a Maputo press conference on Friday that the AT had uncovered one such fake account opened on 5 January in the country’s largest commercial bank, the Millennium-BIM.
The account was opened with the use of forged documents by people who have no connection with the AT or with the Treasury. The four signatories of the account (named as Armando Maundze, Leia Pinto, Justino Cossa and Silvano Tivane) are completely unknown – but they do not work for the AT.
This fake account was uncovered before much damage was done. It was opened with an initial balance of zero, and then received a transfer of 3,000 meticais (about 50 US dollars). Cheques to the value of 2,049.5 meticais were drawn on the account leaving a balance of 950 meticais. Muconto said investigations into the fake account are continuing.
He urged the public, and particularly the commercial banks, to take great care over accounts supposedly opened in the name of the AT. For in any commercial bank, the AT will never have more than one account, and that is opened at the request of the bank itself.
Muconto said it was thanks to the AT’s own intelligence unit that this fake account, and other frauds, had been uncovered.
Muconto also confirmed that the Italian energy company ENI had paid capital gains tax of 352.7 million US dollars on 15 December. This was the tax owed on the sale to the US oil and gas giant ExxonMobil of half of ENI’s holding in the Rovuma Basin offshore Area Four, where vast reserves of natural gas have been discovered. ExxonMobil paid 2.8 billion dollars for this stake.
The money was deposited in a transitory account in US dollars while awaiting finalisation of all the administrative procedures to convert it into meticais and put it in an official treasury account.
These procedures, Muconto said, were concluded in January and the counterpart value of 21.029 billion meticais was deposited in a treasury account.
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