FastJet, the African airline backed by easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, is facing a million pound tax claim from Tanzanian authorities. The London listed company’s Tanzanian arm was found not have paid pay roll and property taxes as well as airport departure charges from January to November last year.
In a tax audit last month the Tanzanian taxman found the company owed 1.9bn Tanzanian shillings and $252,700, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph. With interest and fines, the total sum owed came in at 2.8bn shillings (£1.1m) and $651,300 (£414,200). The sums do not take into account any corporation tax the company may owe.
Other demands and legal cases faced by the airline include £1 million in claims over allegedly unpaid fuel and maintenance bills in Kenya, a £4.4 million claim from the founder of the airline Donald Smith relating to allegations of unpaid debts, and a dispute with the Ugandan Civil Aviation Authority.
The airline was created after African conglomerate Lonrho sold its aviation division Fly540 to listed cash shell Rubicon. Sir Stelios was brought on board to add his branding and expertise to the venture. Under his agreement with FastJet, Sir Stelios has the right to appoint one person to the board of the airline. It is understood that as yet no one has taken up the position on his behalf.
A spokesman for FastJet said: “The matter in question is a legacy issue inherited from the Fly540 operation. FastJet works closely with the Tanzanian government to properly address all historic issues relating to tax.”