ZIMBABWE Revenue Authority (Zimra) and its employees have clashed over loss control lifestyle audits after the board approved a policy which permits use of the audit findings as a basis for contract renewal.
BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
The body which represents employees of the revenue authority has begun mobilising its members not to comply with the policy and asked them to refer the issue to the union.
A Zimra board communique dated August 26 2018 and signed by chairperson Willia Bonyongwe authorised loss control officers to conduct comprehensive lifestyle audits on employees and report any “unusual and unethical conduct” to the commissioner-general.
“Lifestyle audits findings may be used as part of the contract renewal screening process,” reads an excerpt from the board communique.
Efforts to obtain a comment from Bonyongwe were fruitless at the time of going to print.
The lifestyle audit policy, developed and adopted as an anti-corruption measure, gives the loss control division powers to effect audits on spouses and children of Zimra employees in terms of section 44 (1) of the Income Tax Act.
The scope of the loss control appraisals includes identifying the existence or the potential of integrity failures and breaches by Zimra employees that may result in actual or potential losses to the organisation or impairment of its objectives.
Employees are expected to provide loss control documented responses and all the necessary attachments within three working days.
In cases where one fails to provide such documents or attachments within the stipulated timeframe, loss control officers are authorised to make an opinion it deems appropriate without further reference to the subject concerned.
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and Allied Workers Trade Union (Zimtratu), in a letter dated September 1 2018, has demanded a withdrawal of the policy, labelling it as “illegal”.
“Our considered view after analysing the policy is that the loss control policy is illegal and that Zimra must withdraw it as it is a legal nullity,” Zimratu said in the letter.
“We have noted that this policy violates the Constitution of Zimbabwe on privacy and the Labour Act on fair labour practices.”
“The employees are required to give relevant documents requested by loss control as documentary evidence. In the event of a staff member refusing to give documented responses and attachments, this shall result in the employee being disciplined in terms of the Zimra code of conduct.”