Pasi hearing set for March

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Suspended Zimra commissioner-general Gershem Pasi

THE disciplinary hearing into the conduct of suspended Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) Commissioner-General Gershem Pasi has been scheduled for March.

Wongai Zhangazha

As first reported by the Zimbabwe Independent last year, an audit into the goings-on at Zimra 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, which kicked off in November last year, saw Pasi being charged with 45 counts of misconduct. He pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

According to sources in government, Pasi’s hearing was last week postponed to March 6. Advocate Thabani Mpofu, who is acting for Pasi, under instruction from Alex Mambosasa and Tazorora Musarurwa of Mambosasa Legal Practitioners, will file Pasi’s defence by February 6.

Zimra is represented by Simplicio Bhebhe and Tawanda Tandi of Kantor and Immerman Legal Practitioners.

Contacted for comment last week, Mambosasa said the hearing was ongoing, but declined to discuss the details.

Former High Court judge Justice Moses Chinhengo is presiding over the case.

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 case has disqualified them from participating in the hearing, resulting in the tax authority engaging an independent external adjudicator.

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.

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