Tax evasion arrest looms for ex-procurement board boss
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.