ZIMBABWE Revenue Authority (Zimra) commissioner general Gershem Pasi says he was not suspended by the tax collector’s board but was asked to go on leave.
Pasi through his lawyers Mutamangira & Associates was responding to a story published by The Standard on May 8 where it was revealed that the board asked him to take paid leave to facilitate investigations into a car importation racket.
This was after investigations that followed a car accident he was involved in last month allegedly unearthed a scandal involving the registration of his Toyata Land Cruiser vehicle.
The Zimra boss said the allegations were not true as he was not under investigation.
“Our client was not suspended as your article alleges,” the lawyers wrote. “Our client was asked to take leave following a decision of the board of Zimra, the circumstances of which are under consideration by our client regarding the validity thereof and the basis upon which the request is premised.”
Pasi was sent on leave alongside five other senior Zimra officials by the authority’s board amid an investigation into an alleged car importation racket.
The other officials that were sent on paid leave were Sithokozile Mrewa (human resources director), Annah Mutombodzi (customs and exercise commissioner), Tjiyapo Velempini (ICT director), Clive Majengwa (internal audit director) and Charlton Chihuri (loss control director).
Pasi also took issue with allegations that the investigations that ‘nailed’him and the other Zimra officials were carried out by the Central Intelligence Organisation.
“It is astounding that you mention the Central Intelligence Organisation as having conducted the alleged investigation in light of such fallacious findings,” the lawyers wrote. “Nothing short of malice and petty spite could package such total untruths as the outcome of investigations.
“The ineluctable conclusion being that the flawed investigation cannot be the basis of any lawful action.”
Pasi did not dispute that he was involved in an accident in Harare while driving his Toyota Land Cruiser but said the registration number was ADJ 6890 not ADS 6890 as reported by The Standard.
“Our client indeed owns a Toyota Land Cruiser whose registration number is ADJ 6890,” the lawyers said. “This vehicle was purchased by our client in 2014 from Toyota Msasa and not from Timothy Simupfukwe as your article implies.
“Our client has never had any dealings with Timothy Simupfukwe and has no knowledge of the said Timothy Simupfukwe.”
Simupfukwe has been accused of working with a syndicate of top Zimra officials to evade duty for imported cars.