Three Zimbabwe Revenue Authority employees have been arrested for allegedly defrauding tax payers of almost 50 million Zimbabwe dollars.
Valentine Chireke, Tawonga Nhengu and Leonard Mazanhi, all employed as revenue officers at the domestic revenue taxes department at Kurima House in Harare, appeared in court this afternoon charged with fraud and money laundering. Their alleged accomplice, Batanai Zengeni is still at large. The state’s case is that sometime in August last year, the first accused identified companies that were dormant and not remitting funds in the Zimra system. He allegedly gave details of the companies to second and third accused. The trio then allegedly submitted value added tax returns online to enable them to claim VAT returns. Between August and October that same year, the accused allegedly opened corporate bank accounts with a local bank for the four companies. The accused allegedly tendered the new bank accounts to Zimra purporting that they had changed banking details. The court heard that the trio then submitted value added tax refund claims to Zimra. Zimra proceeded to pay a Value Added Tax refund amounting to 49 million Zimbabwe dollars to the four bank accounts. It is further alleged that between November 2020 and march 2021 the accused moved money from the four bank accounts into various bank accounts for money laundering purposes. The matter came to light on 10 March after an internal audit of Zimra’s books, leading to their arrest on Tuesday this week. The trio appeared before Harare magistrate Stanford Mambanje.