BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) is cracking the whip on officers suspected of prejudicing the taxman millions of dollars in potential revenue, in the wake of reports of an elaborate illegal vehicle importation scandal that has rocked the entity, NewsDay Business has learnt.
This comes following reports by our sister paper, The Standard, that a syndicate comprising the tax authority’s employees and car dealers had manipulated tax clearance systems to fraudulently import 200 top of the range vehicles.
The vehicle importation scam, orchestrated by the syndicate was fuelled through the manipulation of the tax authority’s manual customs clearance systems.
Zimra officials are under fire for facilitating the illegal importation of cars and in some cases, smuggling. It is also alleged that prominent individuals and businesses were benefitting from the illicit activity.
Sources said Zimra has undertaken massive recruitment in the ICT department to plug off the haemorrhage.
This was linked to adverts for numerous ICT posts announced by the taxman over the weekend. Some of the crucial posts set to be filled include customs systems support analyst, data warehouse analyst, taxes systems support analyst and SAP support analyst, among others.
The tax authority told NewsDay Business it has started identifying culprits and heads will roll, with some cases currently before the courts.
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“Yes, we have managed to identify the culprits and yes, heads will roll. In addition, we will invoke our code of conduct to determine their fate over and above allowing the cases to go through our courts. Some of the cases have already appeared before the courts,” Zimra said in a statement.
The taxman admitted some of its scandalous employees had resigned, while others were now on the run.
“Yes, admittedly, some of our staff members are involved in the scam, however, our crusade against corruption has revealed that members of the public and other parties are involved. Already, some employees have tendered in their resignations, which does not stop the legal process, while some are on the run,” Zimra said.
A fortnight ago, a Zimra official Tecklar Ndlovu (55) appeared before Plumtree magistrate Sharon Rosemani charged with three counts of fraud.
It is alleged that she was a member of a syndicate that smuggled vehicles worth millions of dollars into the country through Plumtree Border Post.
The smuggled vehicles include Toyota Land Cruisers, Toyota Fortuners and Hummers.
Ndlovu was not asked to plead and was remanded to October 24 on $1 000 bail.
Her alleged accomplice, Semukelwe Maphosa, is still at large.