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State seizes proceeds of crime from ex Zimra official who stole US$1 million from tax collector

HARARE – A disgraced former ZIMRA official convicted of fraud in 2018 has had his property forfeited to the State by the High Court.

Tapiwa Evans Chidemo was prosecuted and convicted for misappropriating a total of US$1 119 833,96 from Zimra.

He was found guilty of diverting to his own use VAT refunds meant to be paid to Zimra clients through the Paynet system.

Chidemo was charged with nine counts of fraud and one count of money laundering and found guilty of two counts of fraud and sentenced to six years imprisonment in 2018.

Out of that total, one year was suspended on condition of future good behaviour and another two years were suspended on condition he paid back everything that was stolen.

In a statement, the National Prosecuting Authority said the State would seize two mansions in Glen Lorne in Harare, a flat in Harare’s city centre and a top-of-the-range vehicle which belong to Chidemo worked as an accounting officer in Zimra’s Value Added Tax (VAT) department.

“The High Court in a judgment delivered on June 29, 2022 upheld the NPA’s application to seize the property. The properties in the order are: Stand 215 Glen Lorne Township 8 measuring 4 517 square metres; stand 3036 Shawasha Hills, Glen Lorne; Mercedes Benz C Class 1997; and 2 500 ordinary shares of $2 in Derwent Lodge (Pvt) Ltd giving rights of occupation of flat number 19 Derwent situated at Number 9 Josiah Chinamano Avenue,” said the NPA.

Chidemo was a shareholder of Armeline Investments, the vehicle used to buy his property portfolio.