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Zimra ordered to pay back $9,5m garnished tax

By Daniel Nemukuyu

THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has been caught on the wrong side of the law in collecting revenue and the High Court has ordered it to pay back $9,5 million it unlawfully garnished from a local mining giant.

ZIMRA offices in Harare (Picture by smezim.com)
ZIMRA offices in Harare (Picture by smezim.com)

The taxman, in violation of the law, imposed fines to the tune of $9 554 215 on Zimbabwe Platinum Mines (Pvt) Ltd for alleged Customs and Excise Act infractions.

This was despite the fact that the company was contesting the charges.

Zimplats, through Advocate Thabani Mpofu, successfully challenged decision by Zimra at the High Court.

Justice Esther Muremba recently nullified the fines and ruled that Zimra had no power to impose fines in cases where the alleged violation of the Customs and Excise Act have not been admitted.

“In the result, it is hereby declared that:
1 (a) The second respondent (Zimra) has no power to impose a fine, where a contravention of the Customs and Excise Act has not been admitted.
(b) The fines imposed by the second respondent are null and void.

2 The respondents are hereby ordered to refund to the applicant all fines that were imposed and collected from it.

3 Each party is to bear its own costs”
The judge said Zimra imposed fines on Zimplats when it was crystal clear that the firm was not admitting to the infractions.

Facts are that Zimplats, which was involved in mine development operations between 2009 and 2013, periodically applied to be granted customs duty rebates on goods that were used in the operations.

In terms of Section 144 of the Customs and Excise Act (General) Regulations, Zimplats applied for and was granted customs duty rebates for the period stretching from 2009 to 2010.

In December 2010, Section 144 was repealed.

Unaware of the development, Zimplats continued applying for rebate using the repealed piece of legislation. The Chronicle.