9 November 2018
Gershem Pasi (c)
FORMER Zimra Commissioner General, Gershem Tavakavada Pasi yesterday struggled to provide surety for bail when he appeared in court facing charges of abuse of office.
The State, led by Veneranda Munyoro did not oppose bail and proposed that Pasi pays $5000 bail, provides surety in form of tittle deeds of a property worth $200 000 coupled by other stringent conditions.
The State bases its quantum on the amount involved as well as the potential prejudice which amounts to over $23 million.
Pasi, through his lawyers Farai Mushoriwa and Innocent Chingarande, stated that he couldn’t meet that bail quantum as he is now unemployed and his two properties are bonded on a mortgage from CBZ bank, but can provide his Mercedes Benz, which is worth $150 000.
“The State recognises bail in one breath but takes it a way in another through its punitive conditions, Pasi has been unemployed since 2016 so he cannot afford the bail required by the State.
“Bail should be granted to ensure that he avails himself for the administration of justice however the bail required by the State is excessive given the circumstances, in simple terms, it is unaffordable,” said Mushoriwa.
Pasi was granted $2000 bail and was ordered to surrender his passport, continue residing at his given address, report twice a week at Borrowdale Police Station, not to interfere with state witness Tendai Nyamaropa and to provide surety of title deeds of a property worth $150 000.
Pasi through his lawyers maintained that he was not able to provide the surety and was advised by Chief Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe to apply for bail variation if need be.
Allegations are that in January 2014, the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Mishek Sibanda led a high powered inter-ministerial delegation of senior officials to China.
The purpose of the visit was to affirm Inspur’s capabilities in the ICT domain in implementing prioritised e-government projects.
Pasi was part of the delegation as they wanted to implement e-taxation at ZIMRA.
A memorandum of understanding was signed between the Government of Zimbabwe and Inspur for implementation of various e-government flagship projects including e-taxation which was meant to be completed by December 2014.
During the visit, various government departments had the opportunity to interact with Inspur personnel who demonstrated their capabilities and Pasi began his interaction with Inspur Zimbabwe for IMS design and development.
Pasi allegedly went onto form a committee at ZIMRA for designing the system and also drew specifications of the product which was to be supplied, involving the ZIMRA ICT department together with Inspur engineers.
Several meetings were held between Pasi and Inspur and in June 2014, after the specifications had been made, Pasi did not seek a quotation direct from Inspur Zimbabwe instead, he took the system design to Righlux Services which is a Zimbabwean company.
Righlux Services Private Limited ownership immediately changed ownership during engagements where upon Nyamaropa, who was a driver in the ICT department of ZIMRA, resigned and immediately assumed a directorship position in Righlux owning one percent of the shares.
It is said in July 2018, Righlux supplied a quotation purportedly from Inspur Group in China and it was valued at $32 649 939. 97.
On August 6 2014, Pasi engaged the Office of the President seeking authority to engage state procurement board for a direct purchase of inputs for the installation of the information management system from Inspur China, using the quotation he had obtained from Righlux.
The State procurement board conceded for direct engaged prompting Pasi to sign a contract of over $32 million with Righlux and the contact was couched to reflect thet ZIMRA had signed a contract with Inspur.
Righlux through its parent company Welkin Import and Export Co in China signed a contract with Inspur for the supply and delivery of inputs for ZIMRA at a cost of $11 819 00 using the same designs that had been crafted by Inspur and ZIMRA.
ZIMRA has so far paid $23 763 780 to Righlux instead of just $11 819 000 had Pasi engaged Inspur directly.
Beneficiares of that money are still to be established.
The matter was remanded to November 22.