Lloyd Gumbo, Harare Bureau
THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority’s (Zimra) Director of Loss Control Mr Charlton Chihuri only has four Ordinary Level subjects but has been working at the revenue authority for the past 13 years after forging his qualifications, auditors appointed by the Auditor-General’s Office have established.
This is contained in the forensic audit report conducted by HLB Zimbabwe Chartered Accountants into the operations of the revenue collector following reports by whistleblowers of corruption and poor corporate governance.
The audit report is part of Zimra’s court record filed with the High Court yesterday while responding to suspended Commissioner-General Mr Gershem Pasi’s urgent application seeking to nullify the revenue collector’s disciplinary process against him.
“Our investigations revealed that Mr Charlton Chihuri misrepresented his academic qualifications to Zimra as early as 2003 when he first applied for the post of Loss Control Officer,” reads the report.
“He misrepresented that he had obtained six Ordinary Level passes, scored six Advanced Level points and that he was the legitimate holder of a Bachelor of Science Honours in Economics Degree with the University of Zimbabwe.
“Upon inquiry with both the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council and the University of Zimbabwe, we established that he had misrepresented his results.
“He neither has six Ordinary Level passes nor does he hold any degree with the University of Zimbabwe. In actual fact, he has only four Ordinary Level passes excluding English, and he failed his Advanced Level examinations with two F symbols and an O symbol.”
The auditors said the UZ also refuted claims that Mr Chihuri was ever registered at the institution and categorically stated that the degree certificate that he presented to Zimra was fictitious. The auditors said Mr Chihuri’s record file with the revenue authority contained a Master’s degree with the University of Liverpool, which the auditors queried its legitimacy given that one cannot obtain a Master’s without an undergraduate qualification.
“Mr Charlton Chihuri even failed the Zimra training tests for supervisors and managers scoring two F symbols for Tariff and Procedure 1 respectively. Ironically, he was being showered with performance awards every quarter by the Commissioner-General Mr Gershem Pasi.
“The role of director Loss Control is crucial and cannot be efficiently executed by an unsuited candidate. The authority was prejudiced to the tune of US$1,6 million in remuneration paid to an unqualified person.
“It was surely upon the leadership at Zimra to put in place measures to detect such cases of academic fraud. These measures were not there and if they existed, they were not effective enough to prevent or detect the academic fraud.
“The conduct was damaging and could have far reaching consequences considering that Zimra acts in the public interest. The reputation of Zimra as a state entity is put to task by this damning revelation,” said the auditors.
The auditors also established that another loss control officer, Mr Benjamin Zenda, was employed without the requisite qualifications and through a process fraught with irregularities.
“Whereby the Commissioner-General gave a directive to Ms (Christine) Musemburi, the Human Resources director that he had head-hunted a person for the post of loss control officer and that had to be processed urgently.
“Apart from the fact that the post of loss control officer was not advertised nor interviews carried out, Mr Zenda was not qualified for the post as he does not hold at least an undergraduate degree. The special interest in the head-hunting of Mr Zenda by the Commissioner General is peculiar,” said the auditors.
The auditors also rapped management for failure to act on information that was supplied by a whistleblower and allowing Mr Pasi to direct employees of the authority to make misrepresentations that the authority had investigated and found no evidence of wrong doing.
“The whistleblower died in a car accident in July 2016 just two days before a scheduled meeting with one of the Zimra board members, with whom he was meant to discuss his frustrations regarding the matter. He left documentation with his lawyers now the executor of his estate,” said the auditors.