Former ZIMRA boss Gershem Pasi accused of $32m swindle, freed on bail

HARARE – Former ZIMRA boss Gershem Pasi was charged with multi-million dollar corruption on Thursday.

Pasi, 59, is accused of inflating the cost of an Invoice Management System for the government’s revenue collector from US$11,8 million to US$32,6 million, the Harare Magistrates Court heard.

Pasi, who was arrested on Wednesday, was released on $5,000 bail by Chief Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe. He was remanded to November 22.

He must also surrender title deeds to a property worth at least $200,000; surrender his passport; report twice to the police every week and not interfere with witnesses, the court ruled.

Prosecutor Venerandah Munyoro said Pasi was part of a government delegation to China in January 2014 where a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the government of Zimbabwe and a company called Inspur, which was to work with ZIMRA in implementing an e-taxation programme.

Inspur had a local office in Harare.

While ZIMRA and Inspur engineers were discussing the specifications of an Invoice Management System, which had to be implanted in December that year, Pasi allegedly took the system design to a company called Righlux Services (Private) Limited which is registered in Zimbabwe.

Righlux Services distributes Inspur products in Zimbabwe.

“Righlux Services’ ownership immediately changed during the engagement whereupon Tendai Maxwell Nyamarapo who was a driver in the ICT department of ZIMRA resigned and immediately assumed a directorship position at Righlux Services owning one percent of the issued shares,” Munyoro said.

Rhilux Services, in July that year, issued a quotation for US$32,649,939.97 while purporting that it was from Inspur Group of China, it is alleged.

Through the Office of the President and Cabinet, Pasi allegedly got authority from the State Procurement Board for a direct purchase from Inspur for the supply, delivery and installation of the Invoice Management System.

Rhilux Services, through its parent company Welkin Import and Export Co. Ltd of China is then alleged to have proceeded to sign a contract worth US$11,819,000 for the supply and installation of the system.

Prosecutors say there was no need for Pasi to engage Rhilux Services as the MOU signed between the government and Inspur in China was to enable ZIMRA to source for products and services directly from the Chinese company.

Pasi had instead designed a scheme in which ZIMRA would pay a staggering US$20 million more, it is alleged for his benefit.

To date, ZIMRA has paid US$23,763,780.65 to Rhilux Services, the court heard. Rhilux, however, has paid only US$7,163,242 to Inspur.