Tax-evading Zimbo businessman deported from Botswana

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The Botswana government last week deported Zimbabwean businessman Patrick Dowera following allegations he evaded tax amounting to 4,5 million pula.

He was also being accused of acquiring work permits through giving false information to the authorities.

Last week Botswana President Ian Seretse Khama declared Dowera, a Zimbabwean millionaire, as a prohibited immigrant in his country.

Dowera’s deportation comes weeks after the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) recently impounded 13 vehicles and other household property, all worth over four million pula, from his house in Block 5, Gaborone, in penalties for tax evasion.

A Botswana publication, Sunday Standard, reported that Dowera was investigated by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime and charged with corruption.

The Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) however withdrew all three charges that were pressed against Dowera after BURS impounded almost all his property in that country.

Khama in a letter ordering Dowera’s deportation dated September 12, 2011, said: “In exercise of the powers vested in me by Section 7 (f) of the Immigration Act (Chapter 25:02), I Seretse Khama Ian Khama, President of the Republic of Botswana, hereby declare Patrick Dowera to be undesirable inhabitant of or visitor to Botswana.”

Another letter signed by DPP director Lenard Sechele dated September 9, 2011, states that the three counts that Dowera was facing had been withdrawn under Section 150 (4) of the Criminal and Procedure and Evidence Act.

Dowera was deported last Thursday.

The spokesperson of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime, Lentswe Motshoganetsi, confirmed the withdrawal of the case before court.
Dowera had been charged with uttering, giving false information and obtaining registration by false pretences.

His lawyer Victor Ramalepa confirmed to the media in Botswana that Dowera had been deported.

He said such a decision was the prerogative of the Executive.

“DPP decided that the evidence they had was not sufficient for them to persist with the criminal trial, which was scheduled for December 2011, hence they allowed his deportation,” said Ramalepa.

He accused BURS of human rights abuse and ill-treatment of non-citizens by taking Dowera’s property incuding his clothes.

“BURS completely undermined the value that my client added to our economy through creation of gainful employment for many Batswana,” Ramalepa said.

BURS said Dowera owed them about P4, 5 million in unpaid taxes. A few weeks ago, BURS raided his home and confiscated his belongings, ranging from motor vehicles to expensive clothing.

Dowera owned a panel beating company in Gaborone which was closed sometime in June after the authorities noticed he was evading tax and had allegedly cheated authorities in his bid to obtain tax certificates for his company.