Nyore Madzianike Senior Court Reporter

Former Zimra Commissioner-General Gershem Takavada Pasi has applied for refusal of further remand since he is yet to be given a trial date almost two years after he was arrested and charged with criminal abuse of office.

His lawyer, Mr Farai Mushoriwa told the court: “He was arrested in November 2018 and spent two nights in cells with police saying they urgently wanted him prosecuted. It has been 22 months and we don’t even have a single State paper.

“The sole reason for failing to give us trial date is that there are extra territorial investigations to be held in China and same reasons were given to magistrate (Hosiah) Mujaya in January this year.
“A period of over a year passed before lockdown. The continued remand of an accused person is amounting to incarceration,” he said.

The State led by Mr George Manokore had asked for a postponement saying there are some pending extra-territorial investigations to be held in China.

Allegations against Pasi are that in January 2014, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda led a high-powered ministerial delegation of senior Government officials to China to affirm input capabilities in the information technologies domain in implementing prioritised e-government projects.

Pasi was part of the delegation as they wanted to implement e-taxation at Zimra. During the visit, Government departments had an opportunity to interact with Inspur personnel who demonstrated these capabilities.

An action plan for the implementation of the agreed programme was also signed and Pasi began his engagement with Inspur Zimbabwe for the design and development of information management systems.

Pasi formed a committee at Zimra for drawing up specifications of the project. The ICT department headed by Tyiyapo Velempini was involved in designing the system together with engineers from Inspur Global.

In June 2014, Zimra and Inspur agreed on specifications and Pasi allegedly failed to get quotations from Inspur Zimbabwe. He instead took the system design to Righlux Services, a company distributing Inspur products despite permission for a direct engagement.

On July 1, 2014, Righlux Services supplied a quotation of $32 649 939,97 which it purported to be from Inspur Group of China. Pasi used the quotation obtained from Righlux Services, and allegedly wrote to the Office of the President and Cabinet seeking authority to engage the State Procurement Board for a direct purchase from Inspur for the supply, delivery and installation of the system.

Acting on Pasi’s request, the court heard that on September 2 of the same year, the board acceded to the direct engagement of Inspur Group of China for the supply, delivery and installation of hardware, equipment and software for the tax management system (e-taxation).

After the State Procurement Board had given no objection for direct engagement, Pasi went on to sign a $32 649 939,97 contract with Righlux Services. The contract was not a direct engagement with Inspur as duly authorised.

Through its parent company Welkin Import and Export, Righlux Services signed a $11 819 000 contract with Inspur Global for the supply, delivery and installation of hardware, equipment and software for the e-taxation system which was actually designed by Inspur Zimbabwe and Zimra ICT personnel.

Inspur directly supplied the system to Zimra, with a cost of $11 819 000-00, with Righlux Services acting as an intermediary yet the work was done by personnel within the country.

Zimra paid $23 763 780.65 to Righlux Services instead of $11 819 000 it should have paid had Pasi directly engaged Inspur.