PARLIAMENT says it will soon summon the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) to explain how it was handling the whistleblower facility following allegations of abuse of the scheme by the tax collector’s officials, potentially prejudicing the country of millions of dollars.
By Everson Mushava
Recent reports suggest that some unscrupulous Zimra officials were allegedly being paid kickbacks by defaulting companies to sit on whistle-blower reports until after six years when such records become invalid.
The practice has reportedly prejudiced the whistleblowers who, under Zimra Act (Chapter 23:11) Section 34 B, were entitled to 10% of the collected revenue.
Zimra has also been accused of looting whistle-blower funds by using proxies to claim the funds after frustrating the whistleblowers.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development, Felix Mhona yesterday said he was engaging all stakeholders with the view to summoning Zimra before Parliament to understand the problems it was having with the whistleblower facility.
“Sometimes, nothing is coming out of the facility due to corruption, and we are engaging all stakeholders so that we summon Zimra before the committee and understand its challenges,” Mhona said.
“There is a potential that funds can be raised using the facility if it is managed well. We want to understand all the allegations raised by the citizens against Zimra, what is covered by the Act and what is not covered and map the best way forward.”
Zimra corporate communications manager Taungana Ndoro was not picking calls yesterday, but in 2015, Zimra head of legal and corporate services Florence Jambwa disclosed that the authority could only keep records for up to six years.
Faith Mazani, Zimra Commissioner-General, recently revealed to a Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting that the tax collector wanted the facility stopped because it was being abused.
The sources, however, claimed that Zimra officials were the biggest culprits in abusing the whistleblower facility by shielding culprits.
“The reason why Zimra wants to suspend the facility is that it has realised its officials have been abusing it,” a Zimra official who requested anonymity said.
“If companies are complaining about the facility, it means it is effective. Zimra gets 90% and should not worry about the 10% that is claimed by the whistleblower.
“The whistleblowers are exposing corruption in the country and Zimra should be happy about it because the reason why President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently introduced the 2% tax is that government wants money. It is surprising why Zimra is deciding to scrap the facility when the practice is used in many other countries like the United States.”