via Zimra boss takes aim at Parliament – DailyNews Live 4 MARCH 2014
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) commissioner-general Gershem Pasi is mulling a constitutional challenge to stop what he describes as abuse of parliamentary privilege in tackling national issues, including salary-gate.
This also comes as the tax collector and his organisation have petitioned local papers to stop publishing stories around his alleged astronomical pay following Mbizo legislator Settlement Chikwinya’s recent motion that Pasi was raking in $310 000 per month.
“…in our view, parliamentary privilege does not extend to the making of reckless and wholly unfounded statements by members of Parliament in the hope that they can hide behind the concept of parliamentary privilege,” lawyers, Kantor & Immerman representing Pasi said yesterday.
“We have instructions to pursue this matter to its logical conclusion, including placing before the Constitutional Court, the competing issues of parliamentary privilege and the rights of individuals, and corporates to their good reputations and names, and to protect the same in accordance with the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” they added.
Although the tone and frame of the articles were different in local newspapers, the Zimra boss’ lawyers said that reports emanating from the recent debate were not only defamatory, but had also characterised their client as corrupt, amoral and Zimra’s affairs were shambolic.
“The integrity of Zimra and the fiscus at large has been compromised, and undermined by the false statement, and publication attributed to Honourable Chikwinya,” Kantor and Immerman said in the letter also copied to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) legislator.
“Any continued publication of the same allegations will be malicious in the extreme and reckless on your part (newspapers), and in the event that damages proceedings are instituted, will serve to aggravate the amount claimed from yourselves,” the lawyers said, adding their “clients’ names and reputations had been damaged locally, and abroad”.
While the question of Chikwinya’s rights or privilege is being explored, Pasi and Zimra have also hinted that they were likely to go after the MDC man based on the new Constitution’s freedom, and privacy rights guarantees.