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Deadline for Zimra forensic audit extended

by Freeman Razemba
09 Jul 2016 at 08:27hrs | Views
The forensic audit on the pay and benefits of Zimbabwe Revenue Authority senior executives is ongoing, and will now be completed at the end of the month, after officials failed to meet the June 30 deadline.

The audit is centred on executive payroll and packages including secondment of Zimra staff, personal loans advanced to executives and subsequent importation and clearance of vehicles.

The forensic audit covers the period from January 2014 and the report detailing the findings of the investigations was supposed to have been submitted to the Auditor-General's Office not later than June 30.

In an interview yesterday, Zimra board chairperson Mrs Willia Bonyongwe confirmed the developments.

"The forensic audit is still in process, and we expect it to be complete by end of July or if not by the first week of August. Remember it's a long process," she said.

She said the auditors were already on the ground but could not divulge any other details concerning the audit.

The audit comes after the Zimra board sent its Commissioner-General Gershem Pasi on paid leave and five other senior executive managers after questions were raised over the importation of vehicles.

Mrs Bonyongwe said they were also going to act against these senior executives once the audit was complete, and when they had all the facts.

The action taken against Zimra executives came amid reports that the Government's revenue collecting agent was losing millions of dollars to dealers who were processing counterfeit undervalued import documents, to smuggle vehicles and other products.

The other five executives sent on leave are loss control director Mr Charlton Chihuri, Mrs Anna Mutombodzi (Commissioner of Customs and Excise), Mr Tjiyapo Velempini (director ICT and infrastructural development), Mr Clive Charles Majengwa (director internal audit) and Mrs Sithokozile Thembani Mrewa (director human resources).

The auditors are expected to look into procurement of services by Zimra including recent and current renovations at Kurima House in Harare and establish if proper procedures were followed in awarding tenders. In addition, the audit will also cover procurement of uniforms and the ICT equipment, Asycuda system validation and construction of Chirundu houses.

Further, the audit firm shall review all documents and confirm purchases were in line with the procurement, standards, and regulations and establish whether the cost were justified.

"The (contracted) firm shall produce a detailed report on the audit and where there is wrongdoing and criminal activity, (should) prepare the necessary papers for the necessary prosecution," Zimra recently said.

"As the assignment is required urgently, the firm shall submit a detailed report to the Auditor-General not later than June 30, 2016, highlighting findings, recommendations on corrective action, specific recommendations geared towards greater and better financial management, accountability and corporate governance of the organisation."

While Government's failure to meet revenue targets has been largely blamed on poor performance of most revenue heads, corruption at the country's borders has also resulted in loss of millions of potential revenue.

It is largely suspected that some Zimra officials are facilitating entry of undervalued imports and in some cases of smuggling. It is also alleged that some individuals and businesses are evading duty by declaring goods destined for Zimbabwe as "in transit".

Mrs Bonyongwe recently said corruption was among the major factors affecting revenue collection.

Source - the herald

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