ZRA officials fired over allegations of corruption and bribes

ZRA commissioner General Berlin Msiska
ZRA commissioner General Berlin Msiska

SEVERAL senior Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) officials have had their contracts terminated in a purge linked to a wide-ranging probe of allegations of corruption and bribes at the Government’s tax collecting body.

The decision to dismiss the directors was necessitated by intervention of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) following reports that the officials were soliciting for bribes instead of collecting taxes.

ZRA public relations officer Mumbuna Kufekisa could neither confirm nor deny the dismissals, but ACC spokesperson Timothy Moono said it was only right that the affected officers were fired.

It is believed that the officials involved had in the past been asking for bribes from different institutions owing the Government various amounts of money in form of taxes.

Mr Kufekisa could not respond to the Press query on the names and positions of the affected officers and institutions that owed the money to the Government.

However, Mr Moono said in response to a Press query during the week that the commission had been investigating some officials at the authority and necessary action had been taken against the officers involved.

“I wish to acknowledge receipt of your Press query dated January 28, 2014 in which you wanted the commission to confirm on whether it was conducting investigations against some officers at Zambia Revenue Authority in connection with corruption in tax collection who have since been dismissed,” Mr Moono said.

“I wish to confirm that the Commission has in the past conducted investigations against some ZRA officials with regard to allegations of demanding bribes and other corrupt practices during the course of their duties.

“Some of these officers have been arrested and convicted. It is within public service regulations to terminate employment of such erring officers.”

There have been speculations in the online media recently about some directors preventing junior officers from collecting taxes from some institutions.

On the other hand, the examination of tax assessment on turnover tax and value-added tax by the latest Auditor General’s report revealed that the ZRA failed to collect more than K2.1 million from the available K4.5 million.

It stated that more than K2.4 million out of more than the K4.5 million had been collected by the Authority.

ZRA Commissioner Berlin Msiska told the Auditor General last month when he was queried that uncollected tax had reduced from K2,171,941,172 to K2,169,441,171 after some payments.

“However, no details of such payment (the stations from where these payments were made) were provided for verification as at December 2013,” the report stated.