How we lost USD 308m as Tax Revenue from sale of Zain Africa assets in Tanzania to Bharti Airtel
Tanzania Revenue Authority(TRA) informed the POAC that Tanzania lost USD 308m as Tax revenue from sale of Zain Africa assets in Tanzania to Bharti Airtel.
How we lost the Revenue:
*TRA argues that we lost revenue because assets in Tanzania were not sold since its owner did not change. These are tax planning measures ‘complex registration mechanisms’ were used.
*There is a ghost company called Celtel BV which owns Celtel Tanzania and itself owned by Celtel Africa. Celtel Africa was sold to Zain and then to Bharti Airtel but Celtel BV conituned to own Zain Tanzania and even now Airtel Tanzania. So they avoided tax and will continue doing so unless we change our laws to curb tax avoidance measures.
*We(POAC) have directed Hazina to bring an investigation report on the matter within a month with proposals to change/improve our laws.
*We have also instructed Hazina to start a process of divestment of 50% of its shares to the public through the Dar-es-Salaam Stock Exchange(DSE) so as to improve corporate goverance(transparency) & curb transcations costing the Nation. This will help us to see the true valuation of shares as a response to any transactions.
*Ownership structure: Celtel Africa BV owns Celtel Tanzania BV which owns Celtel Tanzania Limited. Celtel Tanzania BV is strategic for tax purposes.