Zimra board chair hauled to court Callisto Jokonya

Prosper Dembedza Court Correspondent
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) board chairman Callisto Mazorodze Jokonya yesterday appeared in court on allegations of renewing an employee’s contract without following due process.

He was facing two counts of abuse of duty as a public officer when he appeared before Harare magistrate Mrs Rumbidzai Mugwagwa.

He was granted $5 000 bail.

As part of his bail conditions, Jokonya was ordered not to attend any Zimra board meetings or visit Zimra premises.

Jokonya was also ordered to surrender his passport with the clerk of court, report once every Friday at Norton Police Station, to reside at his given address and not to interfere with State witnesses.

The matter was deferred to September 18 for routine remand.

Prosecutor Mrs Francesca Mukumbiri told the court that during the period from May 24 to June 27 this year, at the Zimra offices in Harare, Jokonya allegedly abused his duty by showing favour to Happier Kuzvinzwa when he caused the renewal of his contract of employment as commissioner customs and excise which was expiring on May 31.

It is the State’s case that pursuant to his corrupt act and taking advantage of his position as board chairman of Zimra, Jokonya wrote a letter dated May 24 to Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube — who is the appointing authority — claiming he had made due consultations with all Zimra board members and they had agreed that Kuzvinzwa’s contract be renewed for another four year-term.

It is the State’s case that on May 28 and acting on the misrepresentation, Minister Ncube approved the contract renewal.

Armed with the approval from the minister, Jokonya instructed the Commissioner-General of Zimra, Ms Faith Mazani, to prepare a contract of employment for Kuzvinzwa.

Ms Mazani allegedly refused to comply since there was no board resolution to that effect.

The court heard that having failed to convince Mazani, Jokonya got a contract of employment which he countersigned and was witnessed by external lawyers.

Ordinarily, such contracts are signed by the Commissioner-General and witnessed by human resources director or chairperson of human resources committee.

On the second count, the court heard that on June 12, Jokonya allegedly convened a board meeting in an effort to ratify his actions of recommending the renewal of Kuzvinzwa’s contract of employment without a board resolution.

During the board meeting, some members allegedly suggested that legal opinion be sought to clarify on how to proceed since the minister had already approved basing on the accused’s sole recommendation.

Jokonya then allegedly abused or took advantage of his office as Zimra board chairperson by personally procuring consultancy service from Caleb Mucheche Partners                                                                           Law Chambers without going through the standard procedure of using the procurement management unit.

His actions, the State alleges, were meant to further his personal interest and to cover up his sole recommendation of renewing Kuzvinzwa ’employment contract without obtaining a board resolution.

Meanwhile, Chitungwiza Town Council director of works David Duma appeared in the same court on allegations of allocating a stand to Metalhil Investments (Pvt) Ltd without following due procedure as required at law.

Duma was facing charges of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer when he appeared before Mrs Mugwagwa.

He was granted $500 bail. As part of his bail conditions, Duma was ordered to report once every Friday at ZRP Norton and to surrender his passport with the Clerk of Court.

The matter was deferred to September 18 for routine remand.

Duma was represented by Mr Abisha Muzvaba of Hamunakwadi and Muzvaba Law Chambers.

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