Zimra completes executives probe ZIMRA offices

Golden Sibanda: Senior Business Reporter—
THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority has completed a forensic audit into suspected irregular conduct by executives with fraud and falsification of academic qualifications by its loss control director among major findings. ZIMRA has since reported a fraud case CR 2151 /09 /16 at Harare Central Police (Serious Frauds) against the loss control director, Mr Chalton Chihuri, who joined ZIMRA in 2003.

The audit report has now been lodged with Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa for perusal and presentation to Government before being publicised.

ZIMRA chairperson Willia Bonyongwe confirmed yesterday that the audit report had been submitted to Minister Chinamasa, but would not discuss the contents of findings saying an official statement will be issued this week.

“The forensic audit by HLB Ruzengwe has been completed, and as per procedure, the report has been lodged with our parent ministry (Finance and Economic Development) who will present it to Government,” she said.

Among other issues, the forensic audit looked into awarding of contracts, the motor vehicle scheme and car importation by officials and senior executives of ZIMRA.

Apart from contracts, motor vehicle scheme and importation of cars, the just completed forensic audit also probed salaries, benefits of and loans to senior management. The revenue collector has also contracted chartered accountants Deloitte and Touché to carry out an audit into suspected impropriety in awarding of ICT contracts at ZIMRA.

The Herald Business understands that the audit by HLB Ruzengwe has allegedly unearthed gross misconduct by some senior officials at ZIMRA, chief among them the loss control director.

Sources said Mr (Chalton) Chihuri allegedly misrepresented to ZIMRA that he holds a degree in economics from the University of Zimbabwe when in fact that is not true. It was not clear yesterday whether Mr Chihuri has since been picked up by police for questioning over the issue.

Investigations into suspected impropriety by senior officials at ZIMRA follow earlier reports that the taxman could be losing or might have lost millions of dollars to dealers who facilitated counterfeit undervalued import documents

for the purpose of importing cars at grossly low cost. This resulted in Commissioner General Gershem Pasi and five other senior directors being sent on paid leave to facilitate investigations over suspected irregularities on car imports and other issues related to procurement at ZIMRA.

Other executives on leave include Mr Charlton Chihuri, Mrs Anna Mutombodzi (commissioner customs and excise) Mr Tjiyapo Velempini (director ICT and Infrastructural Development), Mr Charles Manjengwa (director internal audit) and Mrs Sithokozile Thembani (director human resources).

Auditors had also been tasked to look into possible misconduct in procurement of service and equipment, including renovations carried out at the taxman’s Kurima House offices.

Further, the audits would also cover procurement of uniforms, asycuda validation system and the construction of Chirundu Border Post. The forensic audits, which were expected to have been completed by June, covered the period January 2014 to August this year.

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