THE High Court has for the second time in just over a month thrown out an urgent application by suspended Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) executive directors Anna Mutombodzi (commissioner customs and excise) and director human resources Sithokozile Mrewa who sought to contest a disciplinary hearing.
By Wongai Zhangazha
Mrewa and Mutombodzi are among the five senior managers who were sent on paid leave together with Commissioner-General Gershem Pasi (pictured) after questions were raised over the fraudulent importation of motor vehicles.
A forensic audit has exposed massive corruption, fraud, poor corporate governance and tax evasion scandals within Zimra with shocking revelations that Treasury was prejudiced of more than US$20 million.
The two executives filed an urgent application on October 28 seeking to interdict Zimra from proceeding with disciplinary hearings set for November 1 and 2.
However, High Court judge Justice Priscilla Munangati-Manongwa at that time ruled that the matter was not urgent and instructed that the case be removed from the roll of urgent matters.
“The applicants (Mrewa and Mutombodzi) sought audience with me and I set down the matter on 4 November 2016.
However, at the time of hearing the applicants had already appeared before the disciplinary authority and I am informed they had raised certain objections and their matters had been deferred to certain dates,” said Munangati-Manongwa in her ruling.
She ruled that there was no urgency in the matter as the certificate of urgency filed in support of the application did not reveal urgency of the matter and neither did the founding affidavit of the applicants.
Zimra (respondent) was represented by Addington Chinake, Simplicio Bhebe and Tawanda Tandi from Kantor and Immerman while the applicants were represented by Farai Mushoriwa, T Hashiti and T Mpofu of Mushoriwa Pasi Corporate Attorneys.
The applicants’ lawyers argued that the certificate of urgency filed of record was adequate and that “irreparable harm is a key aspect to the interdict itself and urgency”.
In passing judgment, Justice Munangati-Manongwa said she found “the certificate of urgency filed of record to be very deficient”.
“The certificate is of no use, there is no mention of the unlawfulness of the impending disciplinary proceedings, no indication of the repercussions to applicants if the hearing were to proceed apart from a bold averment that irreparable harm will occasion. In my view the certifying legal practitioner failed to discharge his duty conscientiously as it is expected of an officer of court ….,” she said as she dismissed the matter with costs.