ZIMBABWE Revenue Authority multi-million dollar contract to install an online payment system in 14 banks linked to the tax collector was an underhand deal with no approval from the board, the High Court has ruled.
Chartered Systems Integrated (Pvt) Ltd was claiming over $5,3 million for the development, implementation and integration of a Zimra Online Payment System (ZOPS) at the banks connected to Zimra.
The court refused to grant the claim which exposed former Zimra information technology director Mr Tjiyapo Velempini for demanding 25 percent equity bribe from the firm. Instead, Justice Pisirayi Kwenda granted an application by Zimra for absolution from the instance, with costs.
The technology firm had argued that it developed the solution which it presented to the tax collector on the understanding that a written contract would be signed once the solution was accepted.
The court also heard that when the pilot project was run at CBZ in 2011 and accepted, Mr Velempini solicited for a bribe and made it clear that for a contract to be signed his demand had to be met.
Despite non- payment, the firm claimed it went ahead with the project in "good faith" to cover all banks plus Econet, Telecel and NetOne, without a contract. In his ruling, Justice Kwenda said recognition of such a shadowy arrangement was tantamount to rendering the whole legal framework discussed in the matter nugatory.
He said the judiciary, all its judges and courts were custodians of the Constitution with no discretion to undermine the law.
Justice Kwenda said allowing the technology firm and Mr Velempini to bind Zimra to a contract worth millions of dollars in flagrant and corrupt disregard of clear legislative provisions would be a serious dereliction of duty by the court.
The judge said the court's findings on the illegality of the contract claimed by Chartered Systems would not change even if Zimra testifies.