National revenue collector, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), intensified war against graft and other forms of crime resulting in the recovery of $80 million during the fourth quarter to December 31, 2019, a senior official has revealed.
This contributed significantly to the authority’s revenue collected for the quarter that stood at 651 percent ahead of the same quarter in the prior year.
In a performance report for the quarter under review, vice board chairperson Josephine Matambo, also indicated that over $150 million was identified for recoveries during year 2019 under the anti-corruption initiatives and other efforts to curb leakages.
Zimra’s loss control team, police and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and other law enforcing agencies, have been on special operation to curb, for instance, smuggling involving motor vehicle imports through the abuse of Customs Clearance Certificates.
The smugglers at times did this in connivance with Zimra senior employees.
“There was also a huge impact on revenue collections this quarter with over $80 million recovered directly. The authority intensified lifestyle audits, use of whistle blower information, investigated intelligence and hotline cases and performed due diligence checks.
“Zimra continues to carry out internal lifestyle checks on employees. A total of 267 lifestyle audits were undertaken in 2019 and of these, 34 underwent corrective including seizures of properties acquired under unclear circumstances,” said Ms Matambo.
According to Ms Matambo, Zimra has scored successes in contributing towards curbing corruption with 26 corruption cases having been referred to criminal courts.
Other corruption prevention measures included seizures of proceeds of corruption in the form of property, under the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act, particularly houses and motor vehicles.
“This helped to reinforce the Zero Tolerance to Corruption,” she said.
This also comes as the authority has increased its focus and implementation of the five-year strategy to 2023 which among other objectives seeks to see restoration of fiscal balance through improvements in tax collections, plugging loopholes as well as improve ease of doing business. These initiatives are also in support of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) which is a roadmap to restoration of confidence in the economy as well as its eventual growth.
On ease of doing business, Ms Matambo said Zimra seeks to facilitate the smooth movement of goods and people at the national ports of entry and exit and implementation of simplified tax and customs processes.
This will help the country in its efforts to improve its ease of doing business index, which is a critical indicator on the conduciveness of a country as an investment environment.
Meanwhile, during the quarter under review, revenue collection totalled $11,7 billion which was 47 percent ahead of the net target and 651 percent above same period in the prior year on improved collections as well as inflation which caused the prices of goods and services to increase.
On a cumulative annual basis, Zimra collected net revenue of $23,19 billion against a target of $18,60 billion for the year ending December 31, 2019, which was 24 percent above target and 358 percent above prior year.