Zimra boss' wings clipped

HARARE - Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has reduced term limits for the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) commissioner-general in an effort to increase transparency and strengthen the tax collector’s efficiency.

Under the current legislation, the Zimra board appoints, on such terms and conditions as it may fit, a person to be the commissioner-general. The tenure of office is, however, open-ended, and can be renewed continuously.

“This, however, breeds corruption due to over-familiarisation with taxpayers and does not give room for innovative ideas required for the strategic and policy leadership of the authority’s operations. It is, therefore, proposed that the tenure of office for the commissioner general be fixed to a maximum of two, five-year terms,” Chinamasa said.

This comes as an audit report compiled by HLB Chartered Accountants exposed massive corruption, fraud, poor corporate governance and tax evasion scandals within the authority with shocking revelations that the country was prejudiced of millions.

According to the audit report, which has become public information after Zimra annexed it to a court affidavit, the authority’s commissioner-general Gershem Pasi worked for two years — from 2011 to 2013 — after the expiry of his contract, thus allegedly drawing his salary and benefits illegally.

The report also shows that Zimra executives had failed to investigate a number of whistle-blowers’ reports on the externalisation of funds and tax evasion by numerous local firms.

Amid dwindling revenues worsened by massive company closures and general economic underperformance, the acts of commission and omission by Zimra executives saw the tax collector losing millions of dollars through corrupt activities.

This also includes irregularities in the importation of executive cars, which saw Pasi and several executives sent on forced leave and after which the audit began on July 3.

During the period under review, it was also revealed that Pasi allegedly “whitewashed” numerous tips — brought forward by informants — on the basis that the issues raised were baseless and that the whistle-blowers were not going to be paid for the information supplied as it was not used by the authority.

Zimra, the report revealed, also lost $500 000 to Zim Alloys when it entered into an agreement with the mining firm which is outside the authority’s core business.

In an effort to reduce such losses in the future, Chinamasa further said the board appoints to the service of Zimra commissioners, as maybe deemed necessary, a fixed tenure of office not exceeding three, four year terms.

“In addition, the commissioner-general, with the approval of the board, shall also appoint such heads of departments, as maybe required, for the efficient performance of the functions of the authority,” he said.

Comments (2)

The term limits should apply to all parastatals' bosses. I notice that qualification requirements enshrined in respective Acts which establishes each parastatal are ignored when some of these bosses are appointed.. because one is a crony or has attained a MBA despite lacking the elementary qualifications required in some of these institutions.

Mukanya - 30 December 2016

The Finance Ministers term should be clipped he must do to himself that he is doing to others

wioere - 30 December 2016

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