Shivute vows to hunt tax dodgers

OGONE TLHAGE

The newly appointed commissioner of the Namibia Revenue Agency (Namra), Sam Shivute, has vowed to chase after tax defaulters in his new position. “Namra will ensure that everyone, and I mean everyone, pays tax,” Shivute promised.

90-day plan

The agency, Shivute said, would be built on strong ethical foundations. “Namra will be founded on a strong and ethical leadership foundation, a strong revenue service and customs administration is the fundamental cornerstone of an effective state and key enabler in government’s ability to fund expenditure and provide for its people,” he said.

Shivute also promised to appoint people in the right positions at the agency. “We will endeavour to have the right staff, with right skills and right mindsets in the right positions. We will invest in our staff and ensure that they are duly capacitated so that they can be the best of the best at what they do,” he said.

Another key aspect of the agency would be a focus on transfer pricing. After 90 days have lapsed, Shivute will brief stakeholders on what he had achieved to bring the agency to fruition.

Up to task

Shivute, a former detective within the Namibian police and head of banking services at the Bank of Namibia, said the skills he had picked up will stand him in good stead to lead the agency. Finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi denounced any suggestions that he had favoured Shivute.

Shivute’s appointment was endorsed by the Namra technical committee established to look for a commissioner and bring the agency into existence, Shiimi said.

Explaining the appointment, Shiimi said the committee had suggested Shivute based on the score he attained in the recruitment process. Shiimi added that an external party had conducted the entire recruitment process.

2014 finance exit

Shivute was also asked about exit from the ministry of finance in 2014, amid suggestions at the time that certain people and businesses were being shielded.

Shivute was the ministry’s inland revenue commissioner, a position that had been vacant for almost 10 years after his secondment. Shivute had been seconded to the ministry from the Bank of Namibia where he had been the director of banking services.

Allegations at the time suggested that businesspeople, who were being pursued by Shivute for dodging paying taxes, had threatened him and his family, with some allegedly making it clear that they would make sure he was removed from that position.

It was reported at the time that police inspector-general Sebastian Ndeitunga’s office had confirmed they were aware of the alleged threats and that they emanate from investigations targeted at tax dodgers.

Secondment

While not addressing the alleged reasons behind his exit, Shivute explained he was only on secondment and had completed his time at the ministry as tax commissioner.

“You cannot be seconded forever. I am happy that I went back to the Bank of Namibia. I went back and now I am happy to be back at the ministry of finance,” Shiimi said without addressing the key issues around his exit from treasury.