Pasi's fraud case deferred to next year

HARARE - Former Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) Commissioner-General Gershem Pasi who stands accused of criminal abuse of office appeared in court yesterday for routine remand where his case was postponed to January 11, by Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa.

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.

Allegations against Pasi are that in January 2014, he was part of a delegation that visited China to affirm Inspur’s capabilities in the information technologies as they wanted to implement e-taxation at Zimra.

The court heard 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 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 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 Righlus Services ownership immediately changed during the engagement where Tendai Maxwell Nyamarapo — a driver in the Zimra ICT department — resigned and immediately assumed a directorship position at Righlus services, 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 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.

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