A whistle-blower has submitted an explosive dossier to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) providing insight into how diamond mining firms in the Chiadzwa diamond fields have evaded tax obligations, prejudicing the state of jaw-dropping sums of money running into millions of United States dollars.
The plunder of diamond proceeds has been acknowledged at the highest level, with the late former president Robert Mugabe in 2015 making startling disclosures that the country lost US$15 billion as a result of the opaque operations of the diamond mining firms due to understating earnings and output margins.
However, Mugabe’s claims remain unproven.
The new government later terminated the licences of the diamond miners and combined their mining claims and operations under the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) in 2016.
A fresh investigation by the Independent has revealed that the dossier, which has become a subject of scrutiny by Zimra, contains a trove of financial documents which were seized by the police in 2014 from former Trinesec security owner Alex Mundiya casting light on the status of accounts run by Anjin, Marange resources and DMC at BancAbC.
Mundiya, a former police officer, had stumbled upon the damning financial documents which, as his testimony in court showed, revealed the liquidity status of the diamond firms and how they could have systematically circumvented tax obligations.
At the time of his arrest in 2014, and subsequent acquittal, Mundiya was dragged to court on charges of attempting to extort US$82 200 from former BancABC executive Hashmon Matemera in exchange of the trove of documents.
Mundiya, who was acting on behalf of his security company, which collapsed under the weight of legal fees accrued from the lawsuit, insisted that he merely wanted to help the bank plug the alleged financial leakages.
Two years later, Matemera, who had then moved to the National Social Security Authority (NSSA), was arrested and dragged to the courts on charges of spiriting away US$330 million during his tenure at BancABC.
Investigations indicate that when Mundiya was arrested, the damning documents in his possession showing the alleged tax misconduct by the diamond firms were submitted to Zimra, which over years has been a subject of scrutiny by the taxman.
Zimra, though it could not disclose the nature of information contained in the dossier as investigations unfold, confirmed that it had received the information from a whistleblower, who stands to pocket 10% of what would be recovered if the tax evasion charges are authenticated.
“As per the provisions of the Revenue Authority Act Chapter 23:11, information received through a whistleblower is actioned and necessary investigations conducted to ascertain the veracity of the information provided. The information can lead to the recovery of additional taxes or no yield. The outcome of that investigation is communicated to the whistleblower,” Zimra said in response to inquiries by the Independent this week.
“The whistleblower brings to the attention of Zimra any suspected case on fiscal non-compliance, which information Zimra acts on to confirm or refute the noncompliance through investigations into the reported case. However, due to secrecy provisions of the Revenue Authority Act, I am not able to disclose the investigated outcome of the reported case.”
Amid allegations of rampant pillaging of the country’s vast mineral resources, particularly diamonds, chrome and gold, Zimra has revealed that Zimbabwe loses an estimated US$5 billion annually to illicit financial flows.