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Zimra targets vehicle importers

Ngoni Chanakira

THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has requested motor vehicle importers to supply them with the names of all companies and individuals that imported vehicles and used foreign currency as

payment since 2000. The latest move is likely to send shivers down the spines of several citizens countrywide.

“These persons will have to justify the source of the foreign currency and to confirm the tax position regarding these amounts,” said independent tax consultant Peter Cawood, who has worked for the Department of Taxes and is an associate consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Zimbabwe has thousands of luxury motor vehicles ranging from Mercedes Benz limousines, Kompressors and MLs, BMW, Volvos, as well as Toyota Lexus and Prados.

However, according to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and Zimra, the money to be paid for the imports was now proving difficult to trace mainly because it disappeared into the parallel market.

Zimra this week confirmed that such a directive had been issued but refused to give details, saying early disclosure would scuttle investigations.

“Zimra can request for information from various sources in the economy in order to enhance revenue collection,” a Zimra spokesperson said. “This is a continuous exercise.”

Asked what would happen to individuals failing to produce the required documents, the spokesperson said the culprits would be handed over to law enforcement agents.

“The statutes under the jurisdiction of the Commissioner General allow for access to information in pursuance of collecting revenue. Therefore those who do not abide by this obligation are dealt with as provided for in the law,” Zimra said. The motor vehicle issue is being treated as a matter of urgency by the central bank and Zimra who are utilising the Whistle Blower’s Fund to pay individuals gathering data.

In an effort to instill ethical behaviour and stability in the foreign currency market, the RBZ set up a Whistle Blower’s Fund which is to pay for quality information that helps expose violations of standing exchange control regulations including Customs Declaration (CD1) and parallel market trading.

Payment is pegged at 10% of the recovered value and is effected in foreign currency for use by the whistle blower as they see fit.

Todate a total of 150 cases have been received under the Whistle Blower’s Fund and these are at various stages of investigation.

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