Ex-Zimra commissioner granted $2 000 bail

HARARE - Former Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) commissioner- general Gershem Pasi was yesterday arraigned before the court on charges of criminal abuse of office.

Pasi is accused of inflating prices for the acquisition of Information Management Systems (IMS) from $11 819 000 to $32 649 939.97 through engaging third party services against the State Procurement Board’s recommendation of direct engagement.

As a result, the State alleges that Pasi caused the transfer of $23 763 780.65 to beneficiaries who are yet to be determined.

Yesterday, Pasi appeared before chief magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe who remanded him out of custody to November 22 on condition that he deposits $2 000 bail.

Guvamombe ordered Pasi to surrender his passport, report twice a week at Borrowdale Police Station, continue residing at the given address and not to interfere with State witnesses.

Guvamombe also ordered him to provide surety in the form of title deeds amounting to $150 000.

Initially, the State led by Veneranda Munyoro had proposed that Pasi deposits  $5 000 bail and provide surety in the sum of $200 000.

Through his lawyers Farai Mushoriwa and Innocent Chingaranda, Pasi argued that he is unemployed and that his daughter who was not identified in court will deposit the bail.

Pasi said the two houses that he owns are mortgaged by a local bank and is therefore unable to provide title deeds.

However, Munyoro told the court that the amount suggested by the State was not excessive considering Pasi’s status.

“The accused person owns businesses and should be able to provide surety. The defence has just made assertions and not produced any proof that the two houses are mortgaged,” Munyoro argued.

Allegations against Pasi are that in January 2014, the chief secretary to the President and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda, led a high-powered ministerial delegation of senior officials to China to affirm Inspur’s capabilities in the information technologies domain in implementing prioritised e-government projects. Pasi was part of the delegation as they wanted to implement e-taxation at Zimra.

During the visit, various government departments had an opportunity to interact with Inspur personnel who demonstrated these capabilities.

The court heard that an action plan for the implementation of the agreed programme was signed and Pasi began his engagement with Inspur Zimbabwe for IMS design and development.

Pasi allegedly went on to form a committee at Zimra for designing the system and also drawing specifications of the project to be supplied.

ICT department headed by Tyiyapo Velempini was involved in the designing of the system together with engineers from Inspur Global.

It is alleged that Inspur Global had a local office registered in Zimbabwe with resident personnel who were responsible for the implementation of the project.

In June 2014, Zimra and Inspur agreed on specifications and Pasi did not seek a quotation direct from Inspur Zimbabwe, the court heard.

Instead, Pasi allegedly took the system design to Righlus Services, a company distributing Inspur products though he was ordered to directly engage the company.

It is alleged that Righlus Services ownership immediately changed during the engagement where Tendai Maxwell Nyamarapo who was a driver in the Zimra ICT department resigned and immediately assumed a directorship position at Righlus services and owning one percent of the issued shares.

On July 1, 2014, Righlus Services supplied a $32 649 939.97 IMS which it purported to be from Inspur Group of China.

Using the quotation Pasi allegedly wrote to the Office of the President and Cabinet seeking authority to engage the State Procurement Board (SPB) for a direct purchase from Inspur for the supply, delivery and installation of the IMS.

Acting on Pasi’s request, the court heard that the SPB acceded to the direct engagement of Inspur Group of China for the supply, delivery and installation of hardware, equipment and software for the Tax Management System (e-taxation).

Pasi reportedly went on to sign a $32 649 939.97 contract with Righlus Services which reflected that the company was to supply, deliver, install and commission the e-taxation system at Zimra.

However, the contract was not a direct engagement with Inspur as duly authorised.

Through its parent company, Righlus allegedly signed a $11 819 000 contract with Inspur Global for the supply, delivery and installation of the IMS which was actually designed by Inspur Zimbabwe and Zimra ICT personnel.

The court heard that Inspur directly supplied the IMS system to Zimra, with Righlus Services acting as an intermediary yet the work was done by personnel within the country.

Through engaging third-party services the cost of IMS system was allegedly inflated from $11 819 000 to $32 649 939.97.

Comments (2)

It is noble to garnish assets/ accounts and or attach properties of those found guilty of corruption, sell them and put the funds into government coffers to help ease on collections

Levis Mudonhi - 9 November 2018

borrowdale...all corruption accused s are residents of borrowdale..zvakaoma!

alternative - 10 November 2018

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