Zimra official cornered over flamboyant lifestyle

Zimra official cornered over flamboyant lifestyle
Published: 29 August 2019 (39 Views)
Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi has approached the High Court seeking an order to forfeit former Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) revenue officer, Kennedy Nyatoti's property after it emerged that the latter allegedly lived an expensive lifestyle beyond his earnings.

Nyatoti and his wife Tatenda Chisadza have both been taken to court after failing to explain how they managed to build a US$150 000 mansion in Harare's Mabvazuva suburb when his earnings during the period under review only amounted to US$44 900.

Investigations by Zimra also revealed that besides constructing a luxurious house, Nyatoti allegedly paid lobola amounting to US$10 000 in 2016 before taking his family on a trip to China at a cost of US$15 000 in November 2017.

Principal Public Prosecutor, Kelvin Mufute said he was satisfied that the couple's identified property constitutes proceeds of crime and was, therefore, tainted.

"I perused a file in which Zimra conducted a lifestyle audit on Nyatoti, its former revenue officer, and observed that he was employed permanently on September 20, 2016. I formulated the opinion that first and second respondents (Chisadza) failed to justify acquisition of movable and immovable property they acquired between 2014 and 2019," Mufute said.

Mufute further said Nyatoti acquired a Honda CRV valued at US$6 000 which he registered under Chisadza's name, a Nissan Skyline valued at US$4 000 for his sister, built a house worth US$150 000 in Mabvazuva, Harare, and a Honda Fit registered under his mother's name.

"I am satisfied that in the context of the first respondent's source of income whose net earnings from his employment with Zimra during the period between October 2014 and May 2018 amounts to US$443 907, the first respondent has failed to justify his acquisition of the specified property," he said.

"In circumstances such as this, where the first and second respondents did not fully account for their acquisition of the specified property, this honourable court is justified to conclude that the property is of illicit origin and, therefore, tainted for purposes of declaring the same forfeited to State.

"I, therefore, submit that in terms of section 80 of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act, there is evidence on a balance of probabilities that the identified property constitutes proceeds of crime and is therefore tainted."

In order to buttress the State's case, Zimra's loss control officer Blessing Majoni submitted that his investigations had established that Nyatoti abused his office and obtained the funds through corrupt means, adding he even tried to hide behind his sister, Portia in a bid to justify how he acquired his
wealth.

Majoni said Nyatoti lied about the amounts spent on vehicle imports which was later verified by Zimra. Nyatoti allegedly also claimed that his sister had provided US$100 000 towards construction of the Mabvazuva house, but it later turned out that Portia was a mere receptionist without capacity.

The matter is pending.

- newsday

 

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