By KETRA KALUNGA
THE Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) should quickly move in and smash the entire cartel at the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) involving some officials who have been ripping off taxpayers claiming Value Added Tax (VAT) by charging 15 percent of all refunds, says the Inter-Africa Governance Network (AFRINET).
AFRINET Executive Director Maurice Malambo said the law enforcement agency should not just end at investigating and prosecuting those who have been reported but should get down to the bottom of this matter.
Mr. Malambo said in an interview that all those involved in the syndicate should be fished out because it was possible that the scheme could have been going on for some time hence the need for further investigations.
He said it makes sad reading that officers at an institution responsible for collecting taxes would involve themselves in corrupt dealings.
“From our perspective, we are convinced that the scheme could have been going on for some time and so far, those that have been arrested and reported to the police might not be the only ones, hence the need to carry out further investigations,” he said.
And Mr. Malambo has commended the ZRA Commissioner General, Mr Kingsley Chanda for his courageous stance and zero tolerance for corruption.
He has urged other institutions to emulate his style of leadership which aims to promote accountability and transparency in the operations of ZRA.
“This is not the first time that Mr. Chanda is getting rid of bad elements, he has generated a great deal of accountability and transparency, other institutions should emulate his style of leadership of zero tolerance to the corruption that he has exhibited,” he said. Mr. Malambo has also advised public servants to learn from the happenings at ZRA that the long arm of the law would not spare them if found wanting.
During an investigation carried out by the Daily Nation following complaints of unfair treatment in the VAT refund system, it was found that some ZRA officers had been taking advantage of their positions to solicit bribes from taxpayers seeking VAT refunds.
The culprits were getting money from desperate taxpayers by promising to expedite their payments and by throwing in the name of the Commissioner-General as the person seeking the payment.