Lloyd Gumbo:Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) managers, who were suspended early last year, are expected to appear before a disciplinary committee soon to answer to charges of corruption and poor corporate governance that were unearthed by a forensic audit instituted by the Auditor-General’s Office last year.The Zimra board has since suspended salaries for all the managers that were charged after the forensic audit carried out by HLB Zimbabwe Chartered Accountants and accused them of having been party to the siphoning of millions of dollars from the tax collector.
Zimra board chairperson Mrs Willia Bonyongwe said all the other managers, except Commissioner-General Mr Gershem Pasi will appear before the committee this month while the latter will be the last one to do so next month.
“All the other managers will appear before the disciplinary committee on different dates in February while Mr Pasi will be the last one in March,” Mrs Bonyongwe confirmed to The Herald.
She said it was crucial that they conclude the matter so that the revenue collector could proceed with its mandate without distractions.
However, other insiders raised concern with the suspended managers’ strategy of buying time.
“It is now almost a year since they were suspended and according to the Zimra code of conduct, they should have appeared before the committee within 14 days, but they have been deliberately delaying the process.
“However, the authority is determined to bring closure to this matter. Imagine, as things stand, the board cannot hire substantive people to fill those vacancies because the matter has not been concluded,” said the source.
The Zimra board sent Mr Pasi and the other five executives – loss control director Mr Charlton Chihuri; Mrs Anna Mutombodzi (Commissioner of Customs and Excise); Mr Tjiyapo Velempini (director of ICT and Infrastructural Development); Mr Clive Charles Majengwa (director internal audit); and Mrs Sithokozile Thembani Mrewa (director human resources), on forced paid leave in May last year.
However, a source said the board had since suspended salaries and benefits for all the suspended managers.
“These were suspended last year soon after the board charged them following the forensic audit findings. The only challenge the authority has had is the delay to conclude the matter so that it can move forward,” said the source.
A forensic audit carried out by HLB Zimbabwe Chartered Accountants early last year on the operations of Zimra detected endemic corruption, violation of Government laws and poor corporate governance among other ills under the stewardship of Mr Pasi and other five executives.
Mr Pasi and the five executives were suspended in May last year, after revelations that they corruptly imported their vehicles.
The High Court dismissed Mr Pasi’s bid to interdict the hearings in November last year.
Mr Pasi had, through his lawyers, argued that the planned disciplinary hearing was an illegality since it was being held in terms of the Zimra code of conduct instead of Statutory Instrument 15 of 2016.
However, High Court judge Justice Lavender Makoni ruled that the disciplinary hearings should go ahead as planned since the process was above board.
The judge said Mr Pasi was subject to the Zimra code of conduct.