Tinashe Kairiza / Constancy Mhlanga
DIRECT Gas Imports Group Zimbabwe (DFIGZ), a consortium of small gas provide firms, seeks a Excessive Courtroom reduction order that can overturn Zimbabwe Income Authority (Zimra) calls for for them to pay US $ 7 million cited as claims for an distinctive obligation.
Based on a authorized petition filed by the oil firms with the Excessive Courtroom underneath quantity HC 56/10/20, the petitioner opposes the cost of US $ 7 million claimed by Zimra in unpaid rights following the promulgation of the statutory instrument (SI) 161. which obliges gas importing firms to pay duties in overseas forex.
Zimra and Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube are named first and second defendants respectively, in response to the Excessive Courtroom’s petition, which was filed on October 6.
Previous to the court docket request, Zimra, in response to paperwork consulted by this newspaper, wrote to numerous firms constituting DFIGZ, demanding cost of various quantities in overseas forex for gas imports introduced into the nation in accordance with the promulgated authorized instrument SI 161. in August.
Nevertheless, the oil firms, because the court docket petition factors out, declare that Zimra’s declare is void, because the imports in query have been shipped to the nation earlier than the authorized instrument entered into power.
The declare reads: “It is a declare for declaration and consequential treatment throughout the that means of Part 14 of the Excessive Courtroom Act (Chapter 7:06). The premise of the declare is that the primary defendant (Zimra) is performing illegally and threatening the claimant’s limbs to retrospectively demand cost of duties on gas imports in overseas forex. The First Respondent will not be entitled to take action because the Applicant’s members have paid the duties within the Zimbabwean greenback equal on time and in full.
“The entire quantity claimed from members of this class is larger than US $ 7,000,000.00, as could be seen from the hooked up letters to members of the Applicant marked“ C1-C7 ”. The First Respondent asks for this determine along with what the Applicant’s members have already paid in Zimbabwean greenback equal.
The group, in its petition, maintains that Zimra doesn’t have the locus standi to demand cost of the duties in overseas forex as a result of the imports in query have been made at a time when the central financial institution didn’t permit its members to “Settle native money owed in overseas forex”.
“The situations set by the Reserve Financial institution of Zimbabwe (RBZ) for candidate members to function particular FCA Nostro transitional accounts on the related interval didn’t permit them to settle native money owed in overseas forex. The RBZ solely approved native funds from Nostro accounts in round quantity 3 of April 2020 in its Covid-19 mitigation measures, ”the court docket’s petition reads.
“Along with the above, part 4C of Statutory Instrument 212 of 2019 additionally makes it very clear who has to pay the duties in overseas forex. It reads that the transactions that may be made in overseas forex are obligation funds at ports of entry by particular person vacationers who select to pay these duties in overseas forex even though the dutiable items usually are not designated items. . “
Based on the request, the DFIG urged that by writing to particular members demanding cost in overseas forex, Zimra was searching for to “divide and rule” the members of the group.
The movement reads: “The primary respondent additional urged that he would deal with the members of the claimant individually… That is an try to divide and rule the members of the claimant.”
The DFIG is represented by Nyangani Legislation Chambers.
The court docket’s request follows a current Excessive Courtroom ruling that now permits small companies to import gas after the Zimbabwe Power Regulatory Authority (Zera) issued import licenses to only eight main oil firms.