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Zimra corners slippery land baron

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THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) is set to garnish bank accounts of detained Harare land dealer Felix Munyaradzi after its final demand ultimatum to his company Delatfin Investments (Pvt) Ltd to pay US$12 million in tax obligations elapsed without settlement.

BERNARD MPOFU
Munyaradzi is currently in jail for allegedly obstructing the course of justice and interfering with witnesses in a case in which police commissioner Erasmus Makodza (pictured) was arrested and charged with criminal abuse of duty as a public officer.

Makodza is accused of leasing a police farm to a girlfriend.

Zimra wrote Delatfin a letter of final demand on 19 March 2021 – giving it seven days to pay or face the consequences. It said the company must pay US$1 266 563.95 in value-added tax, US$8 345 499.60 pay-as-you-earn and US$2 726 228.19 income tax, which all amount to US$12 338 291.74.

The US$12 million arrears should have been paid by 26 March, but it was not. This left Zimra with no option but to move against Munyaradzi’s company.

“I hereby advise you to pay the above amounts within seven days from the date of receipt of this letter, failure of which recovery measures will be instituted against you without any further communication from this office,” the letter, reference number 200045850, was written by a regional manager, only identified as T Chipandu.

However, a Zimra senior official said Delatfin had failed to meet the ultimatum deadline to pay and now faces a garnish order.

As reported by The NewsHawks last week, Munyaradzi is facing fresh allegations of US$14 million tax evasion from a whistle-blower who has reported him to the Zimra, which says the actual amount is US$12 million.

Munyaradzi has been in and out of jail. Makodza is accusing Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) investigating officer Eric Chacha, who is Munyaradzi’s friend, of abusing office by getting him arrested in a bid to fix him over a botched residential stand deal.

Makodza bought a stand from Munyaradzi in Sandton Park in Mount Hampden outside Harare for US$40 000, but did not get the stand. Makodza then got Munyaradzi arrested over that. After that, the top police cop says Munyaradzi fought back using Chacha, his Zacc proxy.

Zacc is conspicuous by its silence over internal allegations of corruption, compromising its integrity and credibility.

A document sent to Zimra, obtained by The NewsHawks, says Munyaradzi made US$79.8 million in deals involving land and car sales, but did not pay tax to Zimra.

In court last week on Tuesday, Munyaradzi claimed there is a “third force” behind his repeated arrests on criminal charges. He was applying for bail before Harare magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti.

Munyaradzi has several pending criminal cases, mostly relating to swindling clients on residential stands from his company Delatfin Investments, a property developer.

The Munyaradzi story involves land corruption on a grand scale. While it has been reported many times in the media, it played out big in mid-2019 during Justice Tendai Uchena’s Commission of Inquiry into Urban State Land since 2005.

The commission heard that senior officials at the ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing head office in Harare were corruptly involved in land deals with Munyaradzi at housing projects around Mt Hampden, where the government is constructing the new parliament building and intends to establish a new city.

Former Zvimba Rural District Council (ZRDC) chief executive Peter Hlohla spilt the beans on fraudulent allocation and distribution of land in the area when he appeared before the commission at the Chinhoyi University of Technology Hotel in July 2019.

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