Big spenders under surveillance

Verita

Grace Mugabe bought a $1.3m ring

Harare—Zimbabwe’s taxman, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), is now monitoring individuals spending big in and outside the country, reports say.

Introduced in 2016, the surveillance is being done under a new tax compliance model that covers bank records, deeds and title registers, according to the Sunday Mail.

People, particularly those that have declared their personal wealth, who buy expensive items locally and abroad, are the main target of the surveillance.

It remains to be seen if the First Lady, Grace Mugabe, is also being monitored.

President Robert Mugabe’s wife is famed for expensive purchases in Hong Kong, Dubai and other parts of the Far East.

She is currently at the centre of a high profile court case following a dispute with a gem dealer who sold her a finger ring worth $1,3 million.

Grace allegedly grabbed the local properties of the dealer when the deal went sour.

The Sunday Mail quotes Willia Bonyongwe, the Zimra chair, confirming the monitoring, which she said would continue for a long time.

“The audits are going to be a permanent feature of our tax compliance measures. If we hear that you bought an expensive watch, for example, we will be keen to know whether you are paying tax or not,” said Bonyongwe.

“Money has a tendency of leaving footprints, and what we are simply doing is following those footprints. If you are running a business, for instance, and that business is expanding, we will definitely ask for your profit-and-loss (statement).

“There is no way you can expand or build houses if you don’t have the income; or drive big and beautiful cars without an income. So, those are the things we are looking at. It’s that simple; you can’t spend what you don’t have. Therefore, we just read your expenditure against your income since your expenses mirror your income,” the Zimra Acting Commissioner-General, Happias Kuzvinzwa, added.

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