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PG seeks forfeiture of Zimra official's assets

by Staff reporter
26 Jan 2020 at 06:23hrs | Views
Prosecutor-General (PG) Kumbirai Hodzi has approached the High Court seeking an order to seize a residential stand and vehicles belonging to a Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) official who allegedly failed to explain how she bought the property.

Through his subordinate Tapiwa Kasema, Hodzi filed the application against Desberia Mutara, who was employed as a revenue officer at the Beitbridge Border Post.

Mutara reportedly failed to explain the source of her wealth during a lifestyle audit conducted by Zimra last year.

"I carefully read a case file compiled by Zimra in which the first respondent (Desberia Mutara) was investigated in an exercise rooted in Zimra's anti-corruption policy, which seeks to ensure that its employees' lifestyles must correspond as far as possible with the legitimate incomes they are entitled to," Kasema said in his affidavit.

"This policy commences at the inception of the employment contract entered into between Zimra and its employees, the terms of which include asset declaration and regular lifestyle audits to ensure that whatever is acquired by Zimra's employee does reflect transparency and legitimate source."

According to Kasema, Mutara was employed by Zimra as a revenue trainee before she became a revenue specialist.
During the course of her employment, she cumulatively earned $57 936 between October 2014 and February last
year.

However, she later stated on her Zimra asset declaration of 2018 that she acquired a residential stand in Mainway Meadows, Waterfalls, Harare, valued at $16 000, a Toyota Rav 4 worth $10 000 and two Toyota Corollas valued at $8 000 each, which raised lot of questions than answers.

According to Kasema, the total value of Mutara's property was $117 000 against her cumulative salary of $57 936.

"I concluded that Desberia Mutara's wealth is ill-gotten and the sources of the funds are proceeds of crime liable to forfeiture," Kasema said.

"The first respondent is an employee of Zimra who earned the above negligible salary incapable of being the source of her wealth. There are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the first respondent is or has been involved in serious crime (whether in Zimbabwe or elsewhere), or a person connected with the first respondent is or has been, so involved.

"Her being subjected to corruption such as bribery and smuggling of imports at Beitbridge Border Post where she was employed makes it more probable that her source of wealth was illicit enrichment".
The matter is pending.

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Source - newsday

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