Tax eva­sion ar­rest looms for ex-pro­cure­ment board boss

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Lloyd Gumbo

FOR­MER State Pro­cure­ment Board chair­per­son Mr Charles Kuwaza faces ar­rest af­ter the new board re­ported him to the police for crim­i­nal abuse of of­fice bor­der­ing on tax eva­sion and unau­tho­rised al­lowances al­le­ga­tions dur­ing his ten­ure.

The board has also handed over his case to the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent and Cabi­net.

The Zim­babwe Rev­enue Au­thor­ity raised the red flag last year af­ter our Harare Bu­reau in 2014 re­vealed that Mr Kuwaza earned hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars since dol­lar­i­sa­tion in 2009 in salary and ben­e­fits.

But he did not re­mit his Pay As You Earn while the rest of the em­ploy­ees had their salaries de­ducted.

It is un­der­stood that Mr Kuwaza was reluc­tant to re­mit his PAYE ar­gu­ing that his con­tract was with the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent and Cabi­net.

This re­sulted in Zimra gar­nish­ing the SPB ac­count on sev­eral oc­ca­sions and is­su­ing sev­eral de­mand let­ters.

In­sid­ers said this prompted the board chaired by Am­bas­sador Buza­wani Mothobi to re­port Mr Kuwaza to the police.

“The board rec­om­mended that the sec­re­tariat re­port him to the police on charges of crim­i­nal abuse of of­fice and there was feed­back that the case had been re­ported,” said an in­sider who re­quested anonymity.

“The case was re­ported by the SPB act­ing prin­ci­pal of­fi­cer, (Mr Sam­son) Mu­tan­hau­rwa. The case has to do with tax eva­sion, unau­tho­rised al­lowances and ve­hi­cle theft. The mat­ter is now with CID (Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tions Depart­ment) Se­ri­ous Fraud Squad. We are now wait­ing for the police to do their part.”

Sources said sev­eral at­tempts to re­pos­sess SPB as­sets still un­der Mr Kuwaza’s pos­ses­sion were prov­ing fruit­less.

They said de­spite the SPB is­su­ing Mr Kuwaza sev­eral ul­ti­ma­tums to sur­ren­der all the as­sets of the board, he re­mained de­fi­ant.

“So the board ended up re­fer­ring his mat­ter to the OPC be­cause he was ar­gu­ing that he wants the house as part of his sev­er­ance pack­age. But the SPB Hu­man Re­sources Com­mit­tee in­di­cated that the board did not have a con­tract with him so they rec­om­mended that the mat­ter be re­ferred to the OPC where his con­tract is and the board agreed,” said a source.

Am­bas­sador Mothobi could not con­firm nor deny that the case had been re­ported to the police.

“We are in the process of fi­nal­is­ing on the exit of Mr Kuwaza and all those is­sues are be­ing taken into ac­count. One does not want to pre-empt some of the things that need to be done and not to be done by just rush­ing to make state­ments on those is­sues,” said Am­bas­sador Mothobi.

He said au­thor­i­ties were still work­ing out Mr Kuwaza’s exit pack­age but ruled out that he would get the house.

“We are pro­gress­ing. It may seem a bit slow but it’s the kind of thing where one doesn’t want to say or to ad­dress is­sues that can eas­ily com­pli­cate a process.

“But one thing that I can as­sure you is that the own­er­ship of the house we have se­cured. It is in every way an SPB prop­erty. His stay­ing there is re­ally on the ba­sis that the exit pack­age is still be­ing worked out,” said Am­bas­sador Mothobi.

He also con­firmed that the case had been re­ferred to the OPC.

In 2014, our Harare Bu­reau pub­lished the al­lowances that Mr Kuwaza got from the SPB for ren­o­va­tion of the house.

Doc­u­ments in­di­cated that Mr Kuwaza got hous­ing re­pairs and main­te­nance since 2009 when he was en­ti­tled to about US$14 000 per year.

The fig­ure came down to about US$6 000 in 2010, be­fore go­ing up to US$21 000 in 2011.

The al­lowance came down to about US$17 000 in 2012, but shot to around US$147 000 in 2013, as he got a monthly av­er­age of about US$12 000 for that pur­pose.

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