Yeukai Karengezeka – Court Correspondent
Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi has approached the High Court with an application seeking an order to confiscate property belonging to a Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) official after she failed to explain how she accumulated her wealth.
Tapiwa Kasema, representing the Prosecutor -General’s office filed the application against Desberia Mutara, who was exposed after Zimra conducted a lifestyle audit last year.
The audit was part of its anti-corruption drive which sought to ensure that Zimra employees’ lifestyles corresponded with the legitimate incomes they were entitled to.
The drive also involved employees declaring their assets to promote transparency and establishing the source of revenue.
Mutara allegedly failed to account for the assets she accumulated when she worked as a revenue officer at Beitbridge border post.
“This policy commences at the inception of the employment contract entered into between Zimra and its employees the terms of which includes asset declaration and regular lifestyle audits to ensure that whatever is acquired by Zimra’s employee does reflect transparency and a legitimate source,” said Kasema.
In his founding affidavit, Kasema said Mutara was employed by Zimra as a revenue trainee before she became a revenue specialist where she cumulatively earned $57 936 between October 2014 and February last year.
However, she later declared on her Zimra asset declaration of 2018 that she acquired a residential stand in Mainway Meadows, Waterfalls valued at $16 000, two Toyota Corollas valued at $8 000 each and a Toyota Rav 4 worth $10 000.
Kasema argues Mutara must have been involved in bribery activities since the total value of her properties was $117 000 against her wage of $57 936.
“I concluded that Desberia Mutara’s wealth is ill-gotten and the sources of the funds are proceeds of crime liable to forfeiture.
“The first respondent is an employee of Zimra who earned the above negligible salary incapable of being the source of her wealth, there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that, the first respondent is or has been involved in serious crime (whether in Zimbabwe or elsewhere), or a person connected with the first respondent is or has been, so involved,” said Kasema.