Zimra loses $800k to fraudster

Tax authorities need to find ways to force payments back into channels that leave a paper trail

Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority reportedly lost more than $800 000 to a suspected fraudster who used fake Value Added Tax invoices to claim refunds from the authority.

Edmore Kandira (35), the director of Chrised Investments Pvt Ltd, misrepresented to zimra officials at Kurima House that he was into farming and was getting farming equipment from companies in Mutare.

He manufactured supporting invoices purportedly issued by the suppliers before claiming vat refunds.

Kandira appeared in court before magistrate Mr Tendai Mahwe charged with fraud.

He was remanded to July 27 on $500 bail.

As part of his bail conditions, Kandira was ordered to surrender his passport, to report twice a week to police and to reside at his given address until finalisation of the matter.

Prosecutor, Ms Sharon Mashavira, alleged that during the period from June 12, 2013 to January 21 this year, Kandira made applications for vat refunds through his company, Chrised Investments Pvt Ltd.

In all his applications, it is alleged, Kandira attached supporting invoices reportedly issued by various companies in Mutare which supplied him with farming implements.

It is alleged he misrepresented to zimra officials that he was into extensive farming at five rented farms in Chipinge and Raffingora.

The applications were processed by the zimra vat returns section, which then referred them to the accounts department for payment.

Sometime in January this year, as usual, Kandira submitted another application for refund but an alert official noted the anomalies on the dates stamped on the fake invoices, the court heard.

The whole company file was referred to the zimra audit section for further investigations.

Investigations revealed the alleged suppliers were non-existent. Further inquiries with the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement revealed that the alleged farms in Chipinge and Raffingora did not exist.

Kandira was then arrested and in total zimra lost $846 152,37. Nothing has been recovered.

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