Haron Computer PLC, anauthorized sales register machine supplier and suspected associates were charged by the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority (ERCA) prosecutors on allegations of misappropriating register machines’ operation. ERCA’s prosecutors claim that the defendants are guilty of tax evasion though the misuse of sales register machines. Though the case is still under investigation, current charges include illegal transactions of 167 million birr and damage to or evasion of 27 million birr in VAT and 51 million birr of income tax, say sources.
The investigation thus far points out that the suspects were involved in issuing illegal receipts and misusing the fiscal memory installed on sales machines that enables the registration of sales - leading to distortions to government revenue.
Haron Computer, including its head and three other staff members along with seven individuals are being been sued by ERCA’s persecutor on 14 charges, according to sources. The issue has been under investigation by the authority and not all suspects have been arrested.
The charge against Haron, an accredited sales machine supplier is the first of its kind. Even though fraud in illegal use of sales register machines has been observed, the crime in connection with machine damages is new and active involvement of professional suppliers is a first. Since 2007 the country has introduced the use of the sales register machine. Very few companies have accredited by ERCA to supply the sales machine.
ERCA, represented by four prosecutors, filed charges for the Ninth Criminal Bench of the Federal High Court, Lideta Division on Monday January 4. At the first court appearance, bail rights for four of the seven suspects arrested in connection with the issue were upheld. ERCA sources state that not all suspects appeared in court; the other suspects, however, had been under custody for up to 45 days.
The first hearing is expected to take place mid Februaryg