The Herald’s Mashudu Netsianda reports that ZIMRA is investigating three Beitbridge-based revenue officers who built mansions in Harare, but failed to account to their employer how they raised the money following a lifestyle audit.
The revenue authority could, however, not release the names of the officers since the matter is still under investigation.
This emerged during a stakeholders’ workshop on the progress made in the fight against corruption held in Bulawayo recently.
Presenting a lifestyle audit report to parliamentarians and other stakeholders during the meeting, ZIMRA loss control manager Mr Selleck Mapfeka said lifestyle auditing or monitoring is a basic comparison of one’s proceeds or sources of income against how it is utilised.
It is an accountability tool which is conducted when the visible lifestyle or standard of living of an individual appears to exceed their known income levels. He said:
We are currently investigating three officers who built mansions in Harare, but failed to explain how they acquired the wealth following a lifestyle audit.
We also have another officer who built a block of flats and he has since resigned. The lifestyle audit also revealed that some ZIMRA revenue officers based in Beitbridge had six properties acquired through shady deals at the border.
Mapfeka also mentioned the case of a former Beitbridge-based ZIMRA revenue officer Mr Kennedy Nyatoti, who made history by becoming the first person to lose assets under the country’s civil-based asset forfeiture law when his US$150 000 mansion in Harare and US$10 000 car were forfeited to the State.
a). He joined Zimra in 2014 aged 25 and two years down the line he got married and paid lobola of US$10 000.
b). In 2017, he took his family on a holiday to China and spent US$15 000.
c). During the same year, he bought a residential stand for US$24 000 and under-declared that it was worth US$18 000.
d). He built and completed his house in five months.
e). It was established that Nyatoti was fraudulently clearing immigrants’ rebates for people not qualifying to bring in goods duty-free under the rebate facility.
Back then, the State could only apply for forfeiture after a conviction for a corruption-related offence but now, the law allows the State to apply for forfeiture under civil rules even without instituting criminal proceedings.
Mapfeka said most of the assets are being recovered through inter-agency collaborations and the involvement of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) through prosecutor-guided investigations.
He added that there is nothing wrong with owning properties, but there is something terribly wrong if owners can’t explain their source of wealth.
A total of US$50 million was recovered from conviction-based asset forfeiture in 2021 and police say they arrested 495 suspects for corruption-related cases in the same year.