Zimbabwe: U.S.$6 Million Tax Evasion Bid Lands Pair in Dock
Two Zimbabwe Revenue Authority officers yesterday appeared in court charged with soliciting for a bribe from Megalinks Pvt (Ltd) to help the firm evade paying over $6 million in taxes.
zimra chief investigation officer Tafara Gumede (41) of 4 Gainsbrugh Court in Harare and an investigation officer Obrie Tinashe Tozivepi (41) of Unit O in Chitungwiza, were based at Kurima House in Harare.
The pair is facing criminal abuse of office and appeared before Harare magistrate Mr Milton Serima who remanded them to December 10 on $200 bail each.
Mr Serima ordered the pair to surrender their passports, report once a week at CID Serious Fraud and to reside at their given addresses.
Their lawyer, Mr Admire Rubaya, raised complaints against the police for detaining Gumede and Tozivepi beyond the statutory 48 hours.
“We reserve the right to sue the police officers instrumental in the over-detention of the accused,” he said.
Mr Serima ordered prosecutor Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa to investigate the complaint.
The complainant in the matter is zimra, represented by its chief loss control officer Mr Peter Chaparadza.
Mr Mutizirwa alleged that sometime in March this year, Gumede and Tozivepi raided Owen Peter Murumbi’s offices accusing him of evading tax.
Murumbi is the owner of Megalink Pvt (Ltd), Front Comm Pvt (Ltd) and Premier Tobacco.
Gumede and Tozivepi allegedly confiscated Murumbi’s company files, including computers, indicating that they were carrying out investigations to determine the value of the tax he owed the Government.
It is alleged that the two raised a tax bill of $1,5 million which they presented to Murumbi as the outstanding tax.
The court heard that the pair engaged Murumbi’s friend Takanayi Mureyi to negotiate with him so that the tax would be reduced. It is alleged that the pair managed to get $40 000 and a Range Rover.
After a month, the pair returned Murumbi’s business documents stamped by zimra, but they did not charge him for claiming the Value Added Tax refunds which were not due to him.
Following a tip off that their superiors had unearthed the scandal, Gumede and Tozivepi forwarded the documents to zimra audit section where a fresh audit was carried out.
It was established that Murumbi, through his three companies had prejudiced the Government of $6,7 million.
It is alleged that the accused acted contrary and inconsistent with their duties as public officers.