Vodacom offices raided and sealed in DRC over tax dispute

Vodacom offices raided and sealed in DRC over tax dispute

Authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo raided and closed local Vodacom offices after accusing the company of not paying its controversial heavy tax on the telecoms sector, reported Reuters. 

Local media showed a Vodacom office in Kinshasa being shut down and chained up by officials from the DRC government.

The issue stems from a tax audit for the period between 2016 to 2019 conducted by the government, reported Reuters. The audit concluded that Vodacom would pay an adjusted tax rate of US$243 million in July 2021, a figure that was later reduced (but still rejected), Vodacom detailed.

"On December 6 and 7, 2022, agents of the Direction Generale des Impots presented themselves at our technical, commercial and administrative offices and proceeded with the installation of seals," Vodacom said in a statement dated December 8.

The DRC government has been in constant disputes with telecom operators by imposing taxes and restricting providers from raising prices. The government unveiled a new tax in March which placed levies on every phone call, text message and megabyte of data.

This tax replaced another known as the ‘phone tax’ which levied device purchases, this sparked a parliamentary review and was eventually scrapped. 

In August, Bloomberg reported executives from the country’s operators Africell, Airtel Africa, Orange and Vodacom were prevented from leaving the country and allegedly had their passports taken away, due to not paying taxes from the mandate in March.

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