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Officials arrested for failing lifestyle audit

by Staff reporter
20 Dec 2018 at 10:05hrs | Views
Police have arrested two Zimbabwe Revenue Authority employees after they failed a lifestyle audit initiated by the Special Prosecuting Unit in the Office of the President and Cabinet.

After committing to weed out white collar crime in both the public and private sectors, President Emmerson Mnangagwa set up a special unit to deal with graft saying treasury had been prejudiced millions of dollars in revenue.

According to documents seen by Business Times, the two; Tapfumaneyi Zunguza (Revenue Supervisor) and Catherine Laji (Revenue Officer) (husband and wife) are accused of money laundering, an act which saw them allegedly accumulating unexplained wealth in the form of properties in Harare.

The officials are expected to appear in court soon.

The complainant in the matter is Lydia Mupunga who is employed by Zimra as a loss control officer.

According to the complaint, sometime in 2009, the accused persons purchased residential stands number 3807 and 3808 Mainway Meadows, Waterfalls in Harare measuring 475sqm each from Waymark Investments.

During the same year, the accused persons also purchased another stand, number 237 Helensvale, Borrowdale in Harare measuring 2200 square metres from Eugene Manyora. According to the agreement of sale, all transactions pertaining to the three properties were done by the accused persons as their full particulars and signatures appear on all copies made available to the State.

All properties in question were valuated and the total value is estimated at $762 000. In 2011, the accused persons started constructing houses on these stands and   construction was completed in year 2013.

Investigations by the law enforcement agents established that both accused earned a total of $60 053,13 from the date of employment and had no any other income facilities which could afford them to purchase the properties in issue.

"Hence there is a reasonable suspicion that the accused persons acquired the property through criminal activities," read part of the documents.

They all denied the allegations and averred that all the properties belonged to Ali Manjengwa who resided in United Kingdom, but no further particulars were supplied. The accused persons laundered a total of $762 000."

Also during the year 2011, they allegedly bought a Mazda BT50 double cab red in colour with registration number ACT 3233 for US$40 000 using cash and the vehicle is registered in the name of Zunguza.

They allegedly concealed the true nature, source, ownership and location of these properties by not declaring them to their employer, Zimra as required by their company policy.

Zimra got wind of the matter and acted upon the information of which they managed to discover all the undeclared assets. The matter was then reported to the Zimbabwe Republic Police for further investigations.

The arrest of the Zimra officials comes at a time when government has announced plans to seize all assets accumulated through corruption proceeds.

Business Times has been told that efforts are currently underway to make sure government recovers its money through seizure of assets mainly accumulated through corruption proceeds.

This will be done through revival and equipping of the Assets Forfeiture Unit under the National Prosecution Authority.

In his 2019 pre-Budget Strategy Paper Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube said the fight against entrenched indiscipline and corruption will be dealt with through the necessary disincentives and penalties.

"Under the 2019 Budget, the fight against entrenched indiscipline and corruption will be dealt with through the necessary disincentives and penalties," Ncube said.

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI)'s Zimbabwe Corruption in the Business Survey revealed that the police and State Procurement Board were the most corrupt institutions in the country while Zimra also made it to the hall of shame as the third most corrupt.

Source - Business Times

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