EMBATTLED Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) Commissioner-General, Gershem Pasi, has filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court challenging his suspension and the proposal he appears before a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday.
BY CHARLES LAITON
The Zimra boss and his five other executive managers were sent on forced leave in May this year after they were implicated in a suspected vehicle import scam.
In his application, Pasi accused Zimra board chairperson, Willia Bonyongwe, of causing his suspension after her company allegedly lost a multi-million-dollar contract to refurbish a Zimra property, Kurima House, in Harare.
Pasi was, on October 21 this year, served with a letter advising that a disciplinary hearing for him had been set, where he was expected to answer to more than 45 counts of alleged abuse of office and misconduct.
He, however, claimed the charges were fabricated to fix him.
“The whole charade against me is driven by her (Bonyongwe) desire to wrest, from Rasams Electrical, the contract relating to Kurima House, by displacing me,” Pasi said in his founding affidavit through his lawyers Mambosasa Legal Practitioners.
“I dare say that here lies the heart of the motive and unjustified and unwarranted attack by the first respondent (Bonyongwe) against me. First respondent is aggrieved by the fact that a company, in which she is an owner with direct interest and control called Woodsbrand Investment (Woodsbrand), was unsuccessful in a dispute relating to the award of the tender for the renovations and improvements at Kurima House (a Zimra property).
“Woodsbrand lost the tender (to) Rasams Electricals, which contract was worth multi-millions of dollars and for this, the first respondent, who is the owner of Woodsbrand, has never forgiven me.”
Pasi defended the awarding of the tender to Bonyongwe’s rival, saying the decision was never his to make, but the State Procurement Board and the Administrative Court.
“She (Bonyongwe) has allowed her parochial patrimonial interest to cloud her judgment and to besiege her fiduciary responsibilities with emotional indignation for me, notwithstanding that I only allowed the tender process to be transparent and free from corrupt infiltrations,” he said.
“The first respondent is Willia Bonyongwe, nee Madzingira, and her brothers, children and cousins, whichever the case is, are listed as the directors of Woodsbrand.”
Pasi urged the court to interdict Bonyongwe and Zimra from proceeding with the disciplinary hearing, adding it had not been properly constituted.
“The first respondent (Bonyongwe) be and is, hereby, interdicted from proceeding with the disciplinary process against the applicant (Pasi) as initiated by the suspension letter of October 21, 2016,” he urged the court.
“The suspension of the applicant from the post of Commissioner-General of the second respondent (Zimra) and all constraints placed in the exercise of his functions as the Commissioner-General be and are, hereby, set aside pending the finalisation by this honourable court on the declaratory motion.”
Pasi further said all disciplinary and grievance issues between him and Zimra must be dealt with in terms of Statutory Instrument 15/2006, as provided for by clause 17.2 of his contract of service, adding his contract of service did not provide for and/or empower Bonyongwe to suspend him.
Pasi further said the Zimra board had no power or authority to request the Auditor-General, in terms of the Revenue Act and Public Finance Management Act, to institute a forensic audit other than a statutory annual audit of the affairs of Zimra by operation of law.
“The ‘forensic audit’ performed by HLB Chartered Accountants on Zimra be and is, hereby, declared null and void and report of the said audit dated September 26, 2016, be and is, hereby, set aside,” he urged the court.
The matter is yet to be set down for hearing.