29 June 2014

Zimbabwe: Probe Revenue Abuse Allegations - NCA

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) has called for the setting up of an independent commission to investigate claims by Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) Commissioner General Gershem Pasi that state funds are being abused.

Pasi last week told Parliament that the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe National Road Authority were not remitting the money they were collecting and urged government to force all public institutions to remit funds to treasury to ensure accountability.

Police however hit back at Pasi, accusing Zimra of incompetence and lying to the nation that the police were collecting in excess of US$3 million monthly.

But NCA spokesperson, Madock Chivasa said Pasi's claims warranted the setting up of a commission of inquiry to investigate all issues relating to the collection and use of funds by organs outside Zimra.

"Pasi indicated that there are some funds that are not being remitted into the legal government coffers [consolidated revenue fund]," Chivasa said.

"It is even more disturbing that the main culprits -- the police -- are not ashamed but find courage not only to criticise the commissioner general of taxes, but also to defend a system in which they used public funds without accountability."

He said the system of allowing police to collect and keep funds was not only wrong but also illegal.

"NCA is aware that many senior police officers make a living, including funding luxurious life- styles, from the money they collect from poor Zimbabweans. As NCA, we are clear that the current situation is an abuse of power and an arrogant display of disrespect to the people of Zimbabwe," Chivasa said.

"The police have used channels outside parliament to communicate their response to a serious submission made before a parliamentary portfolio committee. This move by the police appears to be contempt of parliament."

The NCA said it was disturbing that the police used the media to respond to issues raised under oath and label Pasi a liar.

"NCA party believes that a system in which any organ of state outside Zimra collects state revenue is prone to abuse and must be stopped forthwith. This bad practice has no place in a serious society seeking to use limited resources for the benefit of all," said the opposition political party.

Charamba could not be reached for comment.

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