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From needy student to a cash-loaded whistle-blower: Kujinga minted

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EVANS Kujinga, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) top whistle-blower, has over the years risen from being a former University of Zimbabwe School of Health Sciences student to being an influential person walking up and down the tax collector’s corridors with a swagger courtesy of his wide-reaching networks, The NewsHawks has established.

Kujinga, a shrewd and unorthodox whistle-blower, developed close links with the authority’s chairperson and senior officers, eventually becoming Zimra’s leading informant on tax violations.

Kujinga has over 300 whistle-blowing cases to his name and is owed millions of dollars in outstanding rewards. But insiders and experts say technically it is not possible for a whistle-blower to expose more than three companies.

Zimra, which underwent a major shake-up of senior managers, has over the years announced its plans to introduce a cocktail of measures such as electronic cargo tracking to minimise revenue leakages at the country’s ports of entry.

However, sources say more sleaze is happening inside.

In the first half of 2017, Zimra suspended 21 officials and recovered US$120 million through its anti-corruption drive following tip-offs from members of the public.

Insiders and sources told The NewsHawks that Kujinga’s influence on top Zimra officials has claimed the scalps of some officers who were trying to stop him dead in his tracks. Over the years, Kujinga worked closely with Josephine Matambo, Zimra’s acting chairperson, through her tax consultancy firm PKF which is located at Takura House, a few blocks from the authority’s head office.

“Charles Jaure, former Zimra commissioner in charge of revenue assurance and special projects resigned over unclear reasons, several months after he was suspended on corruption charges, but Kujinga played a role in this,” a source said.

Jaure was in 2018 probed after  a dossier was submitted to Zimra, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and the Special Anti-Corruption Unit outlining a series of alleged corrupt activities carried out by the official in his course of work. He was later cleared by Zimra and returned to work.

“I write to advise that Mr Charles Jaure Commissioner Revenue Assurance and Special Projects has resigned from the Authority with immediate effect. He resigned for personal reasons and the Authority wishes to thank him for the services rendered,” former Zimra Commissioner-General Faith Mazani wrote in an internal memo dated 8 February 2018.

It was also established that at one stage Kujinga became the subject of discussion when former Zimra chairperson Callisto Jokonya raised concerns over possible conflict of interest with Rhea Kujinga a senior official at the Auditor-General’s office. The AG’s office has over the years played a critical role in exposing muck in most parastatals and state-owned enterprises.

The NewsHawks also established that Kujinga, who was the subject of a Zimra internal audit, instigated the sacking of Moja Mutizirwa, the chief internal auditor, who exposed how the whistle-blower was working with insiders in milking the authority under the whistle-blower facility.

Under the whistle-blower facility, Zimra is supposed to reward legitimate informants on cases relating to tax evasion under Section 34B of the Revenue Authority Act (Chapter 23:11) as read with Statutory Instrument 150 of 2020.

Statutory Instrument 150 of 2020, gazetted on 26 June 2020, regulates the payment of rewards to informants upon whistle-blowing and the recovery of revenue.

The reward is 10% of the amount recovered on the basis of information supplied. But corrupt Zimra officials always manipulate that.

Zimra also undertakes to protect the identity of the informants at all times as provided for in the secrecy provisions of the Revenue Authority Act, but it has failed to do so and is endangering whistle-blowers.

Last month, The NewsHawks exclusively reported on massive corruption — which has dragged on for years and is rocking Zimra’s multi-million-dollar whistle-blower fund which the tax collector’s senior officials are looting in cahoots with a corrupt network of informants acting on insider information.

The most recent case involved three whistle-blowers — Norman Nyabadza, Martin Macharaga and Evans Kujinga — who had reported notorious Harare land baron Felix Munyaradzi to Zimra for tax evasion involving US$12 million.

Zimra in March wrote to Munyaradzi demanding payment or else they would garnish his business accounts. Munyaradzi was in March given seven days to pay or face the consequences.

The plunder has continued unabated. Millions in taxpayers’ funds have been stolen through the racket. The network works like this: senior Zimra officials get information from whistle-blowers and then help them to consolidate and process their cases fast using inside information for a huge cut.

Alternatively, and more corruptly, senior Zimra officials use inside information on individuals and companies’ tax returns and tax evasion to empower their cronies to come and report cases in return for huge payments, which they then share.

Kujinga did not answer calls when reached for comment and a text message sent to him was not responded to at the time of publication. —STAFF WRITER.

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