THE office of the Comptroller and Auditor General is this week expected to appoint external auditors to carry out a forensic audit of Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) operations following the suspension of five top executives.
BY BUSINESS REPORTER
Acting comptroller and auditor general, Spears Mutsau told NewsDay that the AG’s office has already issued-out tender documents for the audit exercise and set out guidelines for the firm to be awarded the job.
“By end of the week, the office will announce the auditor to carry out the assignment. The process will be completed by June 30, 2016,” he said.
According to tender documents seen by NewsDay, the winning firm will have to look at how Zimra houses at Chirundu Border Post were constructed and if the costs incurred were justified.
“The firm is expected to conduct a forensic audit, whose scope of work covers the period from January 2014 to date. The focus areas are detailed below, construction of Chirundu houses, review all documents and confirm that the purchase was in line with the procurement process, standards, regulations and establish whether all cost incurred were justified,” read part of the tender documents.
Last month, the Zimra board suspended commissioner-general, Gersham Pasi and four other top executives on allegations of corruption and abuse of office.
Pasi was suspended along with director human resources, Sithokozile Mrewa, commissioner of customs and excise, Annah Mutombodzi, Tjiyapo Velempini (director internal audit), Clive Majengwa and Loss control director and Charlton Chihuri to pave way for investigations on a car importation scandal among other allegations of maladministration.
According to tender documents, the audit was also expected to probe the taxmen’s asycuda validation system (a vehicle tracking system), amid fears that this could have been abused by some top management for personal gain.
It is alleged that some top executives were allowing importation of goods into the country without paying taxes, as it would be claim the consignments would be in transit.
“In this particular case there were nine cars that were imported and only six were accounted for so the board would also want to know what had happened to the three cars as it is in the interest of the tax payers,” sources said.
Also under scrutiny is the procurement system, with key focus on how the tender to supply of staff uniforms was done as allegations against the management are that they improperly awarded a local firm to supply staff the product at an exorbitant price.
The audit should also sniff through the executive payroll and how top managers awarded themselves loans without board approval.
Insiders said senior managers at the revenue authority were living lavish lifestyles and awarding themselves high salaries and allowances — most of them not approved by the board.
The Willia Bonyongwe-chaired board ordered a forensic audit to establish if the top management did not prejudice the State through illicit deals, amid allegations of overpricing in the procurement of goods and services and not adhering to procurement regulations among activities.
“The firm will produce a detailed report on the audit and where there is evidence of wrong doing and criminal activity, prepare the necessary papers for prosecution,” the tender document reads.
The top management also faces allegations of improperly awarding such tenders, as well as undervaluing imported vehicles for their personal gain.