DRC tax officials freeze Vodacom accounts, seal offices
Officials within the DRC’s government have frozen bank accounts belonging to Vodacom DRC and sealed off some of its offices over a US$243-million tax dispute dating back to 2021.
Late last week the telecommunications firm confirmed that earlier this month officials from the Directorate General of Taxes (DGI) closed the company’s technical, commercial, and administrative offices.
The company issued a statement which reads: “This follows a procedure related to the fiscal audit for 2016-2019 initiated by the DGI, which resulted in an adjustment of USD 243 million on 16 July 2021.”
Vodacom added that “in accordance with relevant tax legislation and procedures, it had contested the adjustment” and was “exploiting all the administrative remedies” in pursuance of a settlement to the dispute.
This resulted in the “notification of a decision of partial relief by maintaining taxes of the order of US$165-million” by the Tax Administration on 16 August 2022.
Vodacom DRC says it requested a review of this decision from the Finance Minister and also appealed to the judicial authorities on 4 and 15 November 2022.
According to the company, despite this, the DGI proceeded to initiate “bulk actions of forced recovery of the unadjusted sum; going so far as sealing the offices of Vodacom and the freezing of its bank accounts, in flagrant violation” of legal procedures.
Vodacom added: “Despite these deplorable facts, Vodacom continues to use all the means of recourse provided by the legislation in force to ensure that the law is established and is awaiting the outcome of the procedures underway before the various competent judicial and administrative bodies.”
There has been no further comment from officials regarding the situation and no response to requests for comment were forthcoming at the time of publishing.
Vodacom covers about 56.1% of the Congolese population and contributes about US$215-million to the DRC’s tax revenues. The company employs around 500 000 people.