By Mary Taruvinga
A WHISTLE-BLOWER who exposed a hardware retailer that had evaded US$2,4 million tax has taken the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) and its Commissioner-General, Faith Mazani to court demanding his 10 percent reward.
Geoffrey Masunda made the move after Zimra extended an amnesty to Glidwell Trading (Private) Limited trading as Bhola Hardware resulting in him losing the remainder of his reward.
According to the law, Masunda is entitled to 10% of what Zimra could get if it had fully recovered the money from Bhola Hardware.
In his court application, Masunda said he was being paid since he uncovered the scam back in 2009 without any problems and was shocked to receive information that he was no longer entitled to his benefits.
“From 2009 up until April 2018, I received periodic payments from the first and second respondents without any impediments. However, things began to take a turn in July 2018 when I received notification from Zimra that my 10% rewards had been terminated on the basis that the company, Bhola Hardware had applied and was granted a tax amnesty.
“This came as a shock since I, as a stakeholder in the tax affairs of this company, had not received any prior notice of Zimra’s intention of terminating my legitimate rewards,” he said.
Masunda said upon making further enquiries, he was told that Bhola Hardware had applied for amnesty in terms of the Finance Act of 2018 and as such, cannot continue paying him his 10 percent reward on the balance of the waived amount on interest and penalties amounting to US$224 662.
He said this was wrong.
“The fact that the Zimra took 10 years to collect the assessed taxes surely cannot be a reason to punish me. Had the respondents collected the money in question, then we would not be having this argument.
“The failure by the Respondents to act swiftly and diligently cannot be faulted on me. I as a whistle blower discharged my obligation and must accordingly be rewarded for my act of valour,” he said.
“The respondents cannot read into the legislation a provision which is non-existent…I must be paid in full as the obligation to pay me arose on the 30th July 2009.”
Masunda was also hoodwinked by his erstwhile legal practitioner, Messrs. Maganga who made him to pay legal fees when he first approached the court with his case.
The lawyer went on to withdraw the case without his approval and is also asking the High Court to reverse that.
Masunda argues that he risked his life by gathering the information and by exposing the company’s fraud.
The case is pending.