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Multi-million dollar whistleblowing corruption scandal rocks Zimra


Whistle-blower turned against Zimra over unsettled millions



ZIMBABWE’S leading whistle-blower Evans Kujinga – who has reported over 300 companies as shown by latest records to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) for tax evasion and racked in millions in the process – once took the tax collector to the Zimbabwe-Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) for corruption.
Documents obtained from Zacc show Kujinga reported Zimra to Zacc over a number cases due to unpaid commissions and an attempt by the tax collector’s top officials to rob him and other whistle-blowers of their legal dues.
That was an usual situation in which whistle-blowers blew the whistle over their benefactor amid internal contradictions at Zimra sharpened by corruption and greed.
“Sometime in 2019, Kujinga, fed up by Zimra’s failure to pay his commissions on time due to corruption and greed by top officials, reported the tax collector to Zacc for corruption,” one of the documents says.
“Reasons for that included delays in payment of commissions, slashing of tax bills for companies evading tax for bribes, manipulation of the whistle-blowing system, for instance stealing cases by top Zimra officials from certain whistle-blowers and giving them to their cronies for payment, paying the wrong whistle-blowers for self-interest, claiming that companies which are not paying tax have shut down when they haven’t, protecting tax offenders and shifting goalposts on whether informants are entitled to a commission from the principal amount alone or also on interest and penalties on unpaid taxes.”
Tax cases over  which Kujinga reported Zimra to Zacc over following disputes over payment include MetBank, BancABC Second Nominees, Fuels Africa, Traverse, NetOne, Jinan, Zimbabwe Sugar Sales, Second Nominees, Solid Ground, African Centuries, CABS and Delatfin (Pvt) Ltd, among many others.
When Kujinga approached Zacc reporting Zimra, a case was opened for investigations. The reference for the case was Zacc RR 35-39/10/19.
In a letter to Kujinga and other whistle-blowers dated 10n September 2020 over the fight on the Delatfin (Pvt) Ltd case which was stolen from three whistle-blowers, who included Kujinga, and given someone different, Zimra acting revenue assurance commissioner Lonto Ndlovu said Zacc was investigating the matter.
“I refer to the abovementioned matter and the various inquiries and discussions we have had over time regarding the same matter. I also make reference to a letter on the Delatfin case dated 29 July 2019 which was signed by the three of you. There were discussions held once again when this letter was received,” Ndlovu wrote to Kujinga and others.
“The position of the Authority has been that this case was never taken up for investigation in 2013. There is no informant form on record that was filled in by anyone in 2013 for this case. The Authority was, last year, informed by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) that Zacc was also investigating the issue surrounding this case. Zacc gave its reference for the case as Zacc RR 35-39/10/19.
“Fast forward to this year. As you are all aware, we had a forensic audit which was conducted on Sect. 34B cases in 2019 up to early this year. The forensic audit report was received in May 2020.
“The recommendations from the forensic report, regarding the Delatfin case, was that the Revenue Assurance Division was to re-visit the case with the assistance of other divisions. This was done but a conclusive decision could not be arrived at as the Zacc final report was also required. Zacc was contacted for their report. They advised that their investigation was not yet concluded. Zacc advised that they are still waiting for the three of you to avail yourselves to Zacc, and have statements recorded.
“The other divisions we were referred to by the forensic auditors for review of this case then said, they required the final Zacc report on the matter before they can express an opinion on the case. I would therefore encourage you to approach Zacc so that they can finalize their investigation and provide Zimra with their findings. This will enable Zimra to advise you of the findings, as per the recommendations from the forensic auditors.
“Kindly note that this letter will be emailed to your individual email addresses that you provided. We need to minimise contact as much as possible during this Covid-19 pandemic period and communicate with each other through the telephone, email or other electronic platforms like Microsoft Teams.”
In April, The NewsHawks reported Zimra was caught in a corruption storm in which its senior officers were accused of conniving with tax evaders in exchange for payment and par-taking in attendant financial rewards.
This endangers the security of whistle-blowers and damages the image of the tax collector. 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, which is the case being referred to in Ndlovu’s letter.
Although Kujinga later resolved the matter with Zimra, tables turned and the tax collector in March wrote to Munyaradzi demanding payment for an outstanding bill or else they would garnish his business accounts.
Munyaradzi was then seven days to pay or face the consequences.
Under the whistle-blower facility, Zimra is supposed to reward legitimate informants on cases relating to tax evasion un-der 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 payment of rewards to informants upon whistleblowing and recovery of revenue. The reward is 10% of the amount recovered on the basis of information supplied even 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 and endangered whistle-blowers.
Following The NewsHawks’ recent report, Zimra sources have provided further details, including an audit report dating five years which shows a frenzy of looting of public funds under the whistle-blower facility.