Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
A disciplinary hearing into the conduct of suspended Zimbabwe Revenue Authority Commissioner-General Gershem Pasi begins today after the High Court threw out his application contesting the hearing.He is facing a slew of charges of misconduct. He was suspended seven months ago without salary and benefits.
A bid to interdict the hearing set for today failed yesterday after Justice Lavender Makoni ruled that it should go ahead as planned because the process was above board.
Through his lawyers, Mambosasa Legal Practitioners, Pasi argued that the planned disciplinary hearing was an illegality because it was being conducted in terms of the Zimra code of conduct instead of SI 15 of 2006.
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But Justice Makoni disagreed and ruled that Comm-Gen Pasi was subject to the Zimra code of conduct. She said what the revenue collector did was above board hence Comm-Gen Pasi should subject himself to the disciplinary process.
It was also the judge’s view that if Comm-Gen Pasi had complaints, he should raise them with the disciplinary committee. Mr Tazorora Musarurwa of Mambosasa Legal Practitioners last night confirmed the hearing would go ahead after losing their bid to stop it.
“We lost our case to stop the hearing,” he said. “The judge said our matter is not urgent. She held the view that the process could not be said to be illegal.”
Mr Addington Chinake and Mr Simplicio Bhebe both of Kantor and Immerman are representing Zimra in the matter.
When contacted for comment last night Mr Chinake refused to shed any light, saying his client did not authorise them to speak to the Press. He referred all questions to Zimra.
Comm-Gen Pasi is expected to answer to in excess of 40 counts of misconduct including vehicle importation scams and other charges dating back to 2009. Zimra chairperson Mrs Willia Bonyongwe is the complainant in the case.
The charges include signing a $14 million contract with a company called AVIC International for the supply of uniforms and tollgate equipment without following tender procedures.
He also stands accused of failure to investigate the alleged fraudulent importation of vehicles by Zimra executives, authorising his daughter to use the authority’s vehicle and approving salary increments without the board’s blessings.
Comm-Gen Pasi will also answer to the allegations of allocating himself excessive vehicle allowances to an extent of getting $374 451 between 2014 and May 2016. He is also accused of allocating himself excessive holiday allowances and drew $205 000 from the authority between 2014 and May 2016.
He also allegedly received “unexplained” allowances to the tune of $121 926 in a year. In March this year, the revenue collector sent Comm-Gen Pasi and five other managers on forced leave over an alleged vehicle importation scam.
He is being charged in terms of the Zimra code of conduct. In his urgent application Comm-Gen Pasi, wanted to block today’s hearing. He also sought to nullify the suspension.
Zimra is also investigating three senior officials — Mr Robert Mangwiro, Mr Shadreck Dimingo and Mrs Truenia Dimingo — who were suspended this week after being implicated in a recent audit report.