A DISCIPLINARY hearing into the conduct of suspended Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) Commissioner-General Gershem Pasi began this week with former High Court judge Justice Moses Chinhengo presiding over the case, it has been established.
By Wongai Zhangazha
As first reported by the Zimbabwe Independent last week, an audit into the goings-on at Zimra has exposed massive corruption, fraud, poor corporate governance and tax evasion scandals within the tax authority with shocking revelations that Treasury was prejudiced of more than US$20 million.
The hearing kicked off on Tuesday after High Court judge Justice Lavender Makoni threw out Pasi’s application contesting the hearing.
Justice Makoni ruled that the hearing should go ahead as planned because the process was above board.
Pasi was slapped with 45 counts of misconduct and has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.
While Zimra’s code of conduct empowers a panel of senior managers to be hearing officers, the implication of many of Zimra’s top executives in the alleged multi-million-dollar corruption has disqualified them from participating in the hearing, resulting in the tax authority engaging an independent external adjudicator.
Contacted for comment, Pasi’s lawyer Alex Mambosasa confirmed that the hearing has commenced but would not be drawn into divulging details.
“It’s a private hearing, the issue of confidentiality applies. I cannot comment any further for it will be sub judice,” he said.
Pasi is represented by Mambosasa and Tazorora Musarurwa of Mambosasa legal practitioners while Zimra is represented by Addington Chinake, Simplicio Bhebhe and Tawanda Tandi of Kantor and Immerman legal practitioners.
Pasi is expected to answer to several charges of misconduct which include the signing of a US$14 million contract with a company called AVIC International for the supply of uniforms and tollgate equipment without following tender procedures.
The Zimra board-sanctioned probe came after a whistle-blower’s report on irregularities in the importation of executive cars, which saw Pasi and several executives sent on forced leave. The audit began on July 3.
Pasi is also accused of allocating himself excessive vehicle allowances amounting to US$374 451 between 2014 and May 2016 without approval from the board, among other charges.