High Court Judge nails Mthuli on rice tax

High Court Judge Webster Chinamora last week gave a judgment in favor of prominent human rights lawyer Obey Shava on behalf of his client, in a case he filed for the nullification of the Value Added Tax on rice at border posts imported into the country.

By Shorai Murwira

Shava had filed for the nullification of the Value Added Tax on rice at border posts imported into the country on behalf of his client Vongai Zimudzi.

Harare High Court Judge Webster Chinamora ruled that finance minister Mthuli Ncube and ZIMRA’s tax on rice was collected illegally.

The judgment came after Vongai Zimudzi sued Ncube and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) for collecting tax on rice that was being imported into the country

Zimudzi was being represented by Shava of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

Shava argued that charging VAT on rice that was exempted in terms of the law was illegal.

Justice Chinamora then ruled that “in context of the dispute between the parties, I observe that section 11(1) of the Value Added Tax act chapter 23:12 allows certain goods and services to be exempt from VAT  and such goods and services are set out in the First Schedule, which is contained in  Statutory Instrument (SI) 273 of 2003.

“Noteworthy is that SI 9 of 2016 provides for the inclusion in Part 1 of the Schedule, husked rice, prepacked rice of less than 25kg for retail sale, semi milled or wholly milled rice. This means that the same products were exempted for VAT,” says the judgment.

The judgment further ordered Mthuli and ZIMRA to, “pay costs of the application jointly and severally, the one paying the other to be absolved”.

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