Massive Zimra corruption exposed

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HEADS are expected to roll at the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) as the tax collector has completed a forensic audit that exposes massive corruption and fraudulent conduct by top executives.

By Wongai Zhangazha

Zimra chair Willia Bonyongwe

Zimra chair Willia Bonyongwe

A statement detailing major findings of the audit is expected to be released today.
The forensic audit report, compiled by HLB Ruzengwe, has been submitted to Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa for examination and presentation to the government before being publicised.

The Zimra board commissioned the audit in May after sending Commissioner-General Gershem Pasi and five other senior executives on paid leave after questions were raised over the importation of vehicles.

Executives sent on forced leave include loss control director Charlton Chihuri, Anna Mutombodzi (commissioner customs and excise), Tjiyapo Velempini (director ICT and infrastructural development), Charles Manjengwa (director internal audit) and Sithokozile Thembani (director human resources).

Findings of the audit are coming at a time the government’s revenue collector is losing millions of dollars to wheeler-dealers who process counterfeit undervalued import documents to smuggle vehicles into Zimbabwe.

Questions have also been raised on Zimra’s procurement processes and financial affairs.

According to sources, the audit has unearthed irregularities regarding the revenue collector’s vehicle loan scheme and the importation of cars by the five executives, executive perquisites, salaries, loans to senior management, staff secondment and the procurement of goods and services, among others.

Sources said the audit findings seem to suggest that Pasi could have been complicit either by From Page 1
acts of commission or omission, or both. He is thus in the firing line.

Efforts to get a comment from Zimra board chairperson Willia Bonyongwe yesterday were fruitless as she was not reachable throughout the day.

“The audit mentions a number of issues that expose the breaking of the law. Obviously the Customs Act was breached when the five executives imported those vehicles.

“The Act is clear that the responsibility lies with the owners and the blame cannot be apportioned on the agents alone,” said a source who preferred anonymity.

“The executives drove those cars for more than four months without realising that the correct duty was not paid, it’s very unlikely. The audit questioned the use of disreputable agents contrary to an internal vehicle policy. For these months no one acted on the executives and the irregularities.”

The audit is said to also question payments made to former Zimra director for human resources and administration, Christine Msemburi, who was seconded to the World Customs Organisation. The audit also questioned her tax payments to the revenue body.

Among the findings is fraud and falsification of academic qualifications by Chihuri. Zimra has since opened a fraud case (CR 2151 /09 /16) at Harare Central Police Station.

Chihuri is accused of allegedly misrepresenting to Zimra that he holds a degree in economics from the University of Zimbabwe yet he does not hold such a qualification.

Zimra also contracted chartered accountants Deloitte and Touché to carry out an audit into suspected impropriety in the awarding of information communication technology (ICT) contracts at Zimra.

The source said the audit covering ICT systems and procurement is expected to be completed in the next two weeks.

Auditors had also been tasked to look into possible misconduct in the procurement for services and equipment, including renovations carried out at Zimra’s Kurima House offices in Harare.

The audits are expected to also cover the procurement of uniforms, asycuda (automated system for customs data) validation system and the construction of Chirundu Border Post.

The forensic audits cover the period January 2014 to August this year.

6 thoughts on “Massive Zimra corruption exposed”

  1. C Frizell says:

    How on earth did South Africa beat Zimbabwe in the World Corruption Stakes? I would have thought that we would be way, way ahead?

    I mean, $15 billion simply “disappears”? Officially no one knows, it is supposedly a Huge Mystery. Only of course pretty well everyone DOES know, and are not impressed by Mugabe’s feigned surprise.

    We just lurch from one mega-scandal to the next as our country sinks into oblivion.

  2. Mamvemve says:

    What do you expect when Mugabe, his Ministers and pretty much everyone in a position of influence is stealing? Who is going to protect the public interest?

  3. E Makhate says:

    It has been a free for all for the past 30 years at Zimra and Zim in general. Zanu legalized theft on day one when the generals and politicians looted ad infinitum. They had misinterpreted Frelimo’s slogan “a luta continua ” to mean comrades let us steal! Now who is going to pay back the looted money? Their children are still enjoying the fruits of crime. We grew up being taught that theft does not pay???

  4. munyaradzi says:

    corruption at zimra is systemic and it s surprising that an audit was needed to state the obvious.

    What will happen next? Nothing

    1. Rob says:

      The obvious has to be quantified and authenticated before tangible talk of prosecutable corruption can be discussed. What happens next is that people will lose their jobs but continue to enjoy the ill gotten wealth. Those in the wrong ‘basket’ might test Chikurubi remand and later be removed from remand purporting that the trial will continue by way of summons, thus the cases will die a natural death.

  5. Obsever says:

    Reporting these days leaves a lot to be desired. Go behind the scenes, question things don’t just report what you are told verbatim. There is more to this than meets the eye,

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