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+250 vehicles seized in civil servants' tax rebate scam

by Staff reporter
23 May 2024 at 10:45hrs | Views
A joint operation by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has resulted in the recovery of 250 vehicles illegally imported through the abuse of tax rebates intended for civil servants, introduced in 2019.

The civil servants motor vehicle rebate scheme was a government incentive allowing civil servants with 10 or more years of service to import motor vehicles duty-free. Under this scheme, beneficiaries are prohibited from selling, offering for sale, leasing, or hiring the vehicle to anyone else within five years of importation without prior written permission from Zimra. Violating this condition requires payment of the residual duty, including interest.

It has been revealed that many car dealers in Harare were exploiting this scheme by importing vehicles duty-free under the names of civil servants, who received payments for allowing their names to be used to evade customs duty. This fraudulent activity has cost the state millions of dollars in lost revenue.

In some instances, civil servants imported vehicles for relatives and other third parties, who paid them "tokens of appreciation" ranging from US$700 to US$1,500, depending on the vehicle type. These vehicles remained registered under the civil servants’ names but were used by others.

During an inter-agency breakfast meeting hosted by ZACC in partnership with Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) in Harare, ZACC Commissioner Gabriel Chaibva stated that investigations are ongoing to identify and prosecute those involved in the scam.

"Following a report from the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development, and Investment Promotion about the rampant abuse of the scheme, ZACC and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority jointly investigated the Civil Servants Motor Vehicle Rebate Scheme. Although the investigation is ongoing, we have already recovered over 250 vehicles," said Commissioner Chaibva.

Commissioner Chaibva emphasized the importance of collaboration in these successes and urged all stakeholders to unite against corruption.

"To date, the Commission has several Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with many stakeholders aimed at enhancing collaboration. Guided by the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS), interagency collaboration and coordination are imperative for achieving our goals. We are obligated to work together to produce the desired results for our nation. Our ultimate goal is to serve the citizens, who bear the brunt of the effects of corruption as it impacts all aspects of their lives, including access to food, healthcare, and education," he said.

While challenges persist, notable successes have been achieved through collaborative efforts. These successes demonstrate the power of unity and the potential that exists when agencies work together towards a common goal.

Commissioner Chaibva highlighted the effectiveness of coordinated action in handling corruption cases within the Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS).

"In the past year, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and the Zimbabwe Republic Police conducted joint investigations into PSMAS corruption. This collaboration led to the arrest of six members of the executive management and 38 doctors," he said.

Source - the herald
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