Fungai Lupande Court Reporter
Chrised Investments (Pvt) Ltd, which is being accused of defrauding the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) of $800 000 in fictitious VAT refunds, insists that all refunds were above board.
This emerged as the trial of the company represented by its director, Edmore Kandira, started.
Kandira pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of fraud before Harare magistrate Mr Noel Mupeiwa.
In their defence, Kandira said all refunds were done after ZIMRA was satisfied with details of each VAT refund claim.
“ZIMRA officials did not visit the farms at which we carried extensive commercial farming upon request by the company.
“Neither did ZIMRA officials establish from Chrised Investments suppliers its trading address.
“If we never purchased any of the equipment or goods, subjects of this matter, the foolproof ZIMRA system would have raised a red flag.
“Charges of fraud are improper because there is no specific statute, that is, the VAT Act Chapter 23:12 that deal with this matter.”
Mr Mupeiwa adjourned trial to March 10.
The complainant is ZIMRA represented by its revenue officer, Mr Tinashe Tawonezvi.
Prosecutor Mrs Tinashe Kanyemba-Makiya alleged that Chrised Investments misrepresented that it was into commercial farming at rented farms, namely Lot 1 Garikai Farms in Raffingora, Nyambanje farms – Goromonzi, Marodzi farms – Chipinge, Sagombe farms and subdivision 3 – Nyanga and Mbembesi farms in Nyamandlovu.
The court heard that Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement allegedly disowned existence of the above farms in their database.
Chrised Investments submitted VAT refunds applications to ZIMRA Kurima House on 10 different occasions.
They misrepresented that the company had purchased various farming implements from suppliers from Mutare and Bulawayo.
The implements attracted zero VAT percentage.
ZIMRA lost $846 152, 37 and nothing was recovered.