Zimabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) board chairperson Willia Bonyongwe has likened corruption in the authority to organised crime as the tax collector continues battling corrupt elements within its ranks.
Speaking at the Zimra inaugural annual general meeting held yesterday in Harare, Bonyongwe said corruption was difficult to solve “because we are in a nation where corruption is systemic and you cannot attack it”.
“It is like you have got cancer in your body, you have to attack it holistically so that it doesn’t migrate from the arm to head or the leg and we have done what we can but it would really require a national consensus,” she said.
“I think the fight for corruption, we have done, but I do not even think we have moved, we are just scratching on the surface. As Zimra alone, we can’t because the corruption at Zimra is being carried out not only by Zimra staff but with people out there. It is like organised crime really, so we need help.”
Estimates show that the tax collector is losing millions annually due to corruption.
In its 2017 annual report, Zimra said it had toll-free hotlines to receive reports on corruption, carry out asset declarations and lifestyle audits on staff members as deterrents to corruption.
Last year, it introduced an electronic cargo tracking and loss system to curb leakages especially at border posts.
These efforts have led to structural changes regarding critical positions, refocusing divisional mandates and recruiting additional critical skills.
“Indeed as an organisation we are doing the best we can to fight corruption. Our biggest strategy to deal with corruption internally is through our code of conduct to ensure that whoever is caught is actually brought to book and the requisite penalties are imposed, including dismissals,” Zimra commissioner-general Faith Mazani said.
“We have also take an advantage of our whistle blower facility as the chairman indicated, which gives us information on our internal and on those who are perpetrating it from outside which has helped us deal with the issue of compliance.”