Former Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, (ZIMRA) commissioner general Gershem Pasi has today appeared in court on charges of criminal abuse of office.
He was released on $2 000 bail, ordered to deposit a surety worthy $150 000 in the form of title deeds, report to police station twice a week as well as not to interfere with the state witness, Tendai Maxwell Nyamaropa.
It is the state’s case that Pasi acted unlawfully and inconsistent with his duties by engaging a third party in the acquisition of the information management system, causing an amount of US$23 763 780.65 to be transferred out of the country to beneficiaries who are yet to be determined.
It is also said that in January 2014, the chief secretary to the president and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda led a high powered ministerial delegation of senior government officials to China to affirm input capabilities in the information Technologies domain as part e-government projects.
Pasi was part of the delegation as they wanted to implement e-taxation at Zimra.
An action plan for the implementation of the agreed programme was also signed and Pasi began his engagement with a Chinese company Inspur Group for the Information Management Systems (IMS) design and development.
Pasi went on to form a committee at Zimra for designing the system and also drawing specifications of the project to be supplied.
In June 2014, Zimra and Inspur agreed on specifications and Pasi did not seek a quotation direct from Inspur Zimbabwe.
Instead, Pasi took the system design to Righlus Services, a company distributing Inspur products though the office of the president and cabinet had authorised a direct engagement.
Righlus Services ownership immediately changed during the engagement whereupon Tendai Maxwell Nyamarapo who was a driver in the Zimra ICT department resigned and immediately assumed a directorship position at Righlus services and owning one percent of the issued shares.
On July 1, 2014, Righlus Services supplied a quotation of $32 649 939. 97 which it purported to be from Inspur Group of China.
Pasi allegedly wrote to the office of the president and Cabinet seeking authority to engage the State Procurement Board (SPB) for a direct purchase from Inspur for the supply, delivery and installation of the IMS.
Acting on Pasi’s request, the court heard that on September 2 of the same year, the SPB acceded to the direct engagement of Inspur Group of China for the supply, delivery and installation of hardware, equipment and software for the Tax Management System (e-taxation).
Pasi went on to sign a $32 649 939. 97 contract with Righlus Services which reflected that the company was to supply, deliver, install and commission the e-taxation system at Zimra.
However, the contract was not a direct engagement with Inspur as duly authorised.
Through its parent company, Righlus signed a $11 819 000 contract with Inspur Global for the supply, delivery and installation of hardware, equipment software e-taxation system which was actually designed by Inspur Zimbabwe and Zimra ICT personnel and had been given direct engagement.
Inspur directly supplied the IMS system to Zimra, with Righlus Services acting as an intermediary yet the work was done by personnel within the country.