Three ZIMRA officials Nabbed Over $49 MILLION
Three Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) officials were on Thursday hauled to court charged with fraud involving for fraud involving $49 milliom.
The money was reportedly stolen from dormant companies registered in the ZIMRA system that were due for Value Added Tax refunds.
The trio of Valentine Chireke, 35, Tawonga Nhengu, 33, and Leonard Mazanhi, 34, appeared before Harare regional magistrate Stanford Mambanje.
The complainant is Zimbabwe Revenue Authority represented by Hillary Nyasha Simbaneuta.
The court heard that in August 2020, ZIMRA through its commissioner of customs resolved to waive physical inspection to its clients claiming Value Added Tax refund, previously ZIMRA would visit clients before processing the claim.
The trio acting in connivance with Batanai Zengeni whose occupation is not yet known and is still at large hatched to defraud ZIMRA and Chireke identified companies that were dormant meaning they were no longer submitting Oncome Tax returns in the ZIMRA system namely Katumi Investments, Nutrioil Private Limited, May Computers and Hefa Electrical Private Limited and gave the details to Nhengu and Mazanhi who then generated ZIMRA E-service pins for each of the companies so that they could interact with ZIMRA online.
They reportedly submitted VAT returns online to enable claims for VAT refunds and the state alleges that between August and October 2020, the trio opened corporate bank accounts with BancABC for the four companies where pre-account opening interviews were being done virtually and the accounts were opened successfully.
The trio is alleged to have tendered the accounts to ZIMRA purporting that they had changed the banking details and submitted Value Added Tax refund claims to ZIMRA knowing that the claims were false and acting on the misrepresentation the authority paid the refund amounting to $49 399 736 to the four company accounts.
It is alleged that between November 2020 and March 2021, the trio moved the money from the bank accounts to various accounts in a bid to launder the proceeds of crime.
Prosecutor Charles Muchemwa opposed bail claiming that the State had overwhelming evidence against the trio in form of documentary exhibits that they fraudulently opened the company accounts and verifications have linked them to have generated the e-pins for the companies in question.
The trio is back in court today for continuation of their bail application.
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