The Democratic Alliance party on Tuesday accused the government of lacking the political will to fight tax evasion or deal with banks that were shielding clients suspected of tax evasion.

    The party's claim was made following the revelation by a senior officer of the SDOE financial crimes squad on a morning television news programme that banks dragged their feet when asked to open the accounts of suspected tax evaders.

    In its announcement, Democratic Alliance noted that out of 3,000 requests made to banks to provide the movement of accounts of suspected tax offenders, there had only been a positive response to 130 at a time when the country's survival was hanging by a thread. The party underlined that there could be no excuse for "providing indirect asylum to tax-evaders and time for funds to be smuggled abroad".

    It also said this state of affairs raised serious questions about whether the government and finance minister really possessed the political will to fight tax evasion and the arbitrary practices of banks.