via Zimra raids Zinara – DailyNews Live by Ivan Zhakata 24 FEBRUARY 2014
A crack team of Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) officers has twice raided the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara)’s Harare offices, in a move widely seen as symptomatic of divergent agendas in government.
This comes as Transport minister Obert Mpofu — a successor to Nicholas Goche — has said the roads manager had been placed “under a daily surveillance programme, especially in terms of its revenue collection systems and to improve transparency” in its operations.
While Gershem Pasi’s organisation was not readily available for comment last week, the minister on Friday deflected back the issue to the revenue collector.
“Talk to the Zimra officials. They are the ones who can tell you the purpose of the raid.
“The minister cannot comment on such issues,” he told the Daily News by telephone.
With last week’s onslaught fashioned as an income tax-compliance blitz — the second such in as many weeks — the latest raid was conducted when Zinara chief executive Frank Chitukutuku was away on company business in South Africa.
The administration’s executives, including spokesperson Augustine Moyo, were not reachable for comment last week as their mobile phones were off.
Meanwhile, the swoop has reportedly left Zinara workers in a “state of shock and paralysis” as key departments are unsure as to what else will hit them given the current upheavals at other State enterprises such as Air Zimbabwe.
However, the nature of the raid has raised alarm bells in government as Pasi’s men could have only gotten or obtained clearance from a higher authority to conduct such a secretive operation.
As Chitukutuku and company have been in the news for various tender issues, and procedures in recent weeks, Mpofu has said the roads manager was subject to a number of complaints by a variety of stakeholders.
“These complaints have been raised by members of the public and parliamentarians, and my deputy (Ms Petronella Kagonye) has addressed some of them,” he said at a recent media briefing.
“What we are going to do is to make sure that all Zinara operations will be linked to the ministry directly for us to see what is going on, on a daily basis,” Mpofu added.
Although the roads manager has been accused of corporate malfeasance, Chitukutuku strenuously denies any wrongdoing.
When tollgates were introduced during the inclusive government era, President Robert Mugabe’s administration had asked Zimra to help with revenue collections, but Mpofu now wants a reversal of the decision.
While the order — crafted by ex-Finance minister Tendai Biti — was implemented to enable Zinara to strengthen its management systems by computerising its operations, the new minister believes there are some aspects which still need improvement or reinforcement.
In reversing the former Treasury boss’ decision, though, Mpofu has somehow given the fairly young roads manager a vote of confidence as the cash-collection role will now be an internal job.