The Ndola Magistrate Court has convicted Halifax Freight Services for defrauding the Government of revenue amounting to about K3.3 billion.
Halifax Freight Services a Ndola based freight services company was charged with 69 counts of forgery, false representation, false declaration, theft by servant and theft by agent, failure to notify the Commissioner General respectively.
The company whose Director was Perry Siatulye ,was acquitted on five of the 69 counts, and convicted on 33 counts of forgery,12 counts of false representation and 19 counts of under-declaration.
In passing sentence, trial Magistrate Chongo Chitundu noted that although Halifax Freight Services was a first offender who deserved leniency, the company was fined,K1,000.00 on each of the 64 counts forthwith in default warrants of distress to be issued.
Magistrate Chitundu noted that Government has lost money as a result of the conduct of the company, therefore,ZRA was at liberty to pursue the matter with the importer to recover the monies lost.
He requested the case officer to raise and issue an assessment in respect of the whole tax amount evaded as a consequence of the offences for which the Halifax Limited has been convicted.
Magistrate Chitundu ordered that the raised assessment be paid by EL Sewedy Limited.
Particulars of offence were that Halifax Freight Services Limited, on dates unknown but between 27th May,2010 and 17th January, 2011 at Chirundu in the Chirundu district of the Southern Province of the Republic of Zambia, jointly and whilst acting together, with other persons unknown and being agents to El Sewedy Limited, did forge 33 Bill of Entries purporting to show that they were genuine documents for ZRA when in fact not, contrary to section 141(1) (b) as read together with sections 183 (1) and 155 of the Customs and Excise Act, Cap 322 of the Laws of Zambia.
The other particulars of offence were that Halifax Freight Services Limited during the same period in Ndola, jointly and whilst acting together, with other persons unknown and being agents to El Sewedy Ltd, did make a false representation that goods imported by El Sewedy Ltd on 12 commercial invoices were worthy the amounts on the invoices when in fact not, thereby, defrauding the Government of revenue, contrary to section 141(1) (a) as read together with sections 183 (1) and 155 of the Customs and Excise Act, Cap 322 of the Laws of Zambia and also in the same period Halifax made false declaration contrary to section 141(1) (d) as read together with sections 183 (1) and 155 of the same Customs and Excise Act, thereby, defrauding the Government of revenue amounting to K3, 301, 045, 572.00 inclusive of VAT claims.
The facts were that the importer Elsewedy Electrical Limited, a company based in Ndola had imported the various goods from Egypt.