ACC directs ZRA to fire employee

THE Anti-Corruption Commission is interfering with the internal and independent administration of the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) by instructing the board of directors of the authority to take punitive measures such as the dismissal of workers, it has been revealed.

George Siame, the former ZRA assistant director of investigations, was fired at the instigation and directive of ACC director-general Rosewin Wandi after being reinstated by his former employers.

The Daily Nation is in possession of information that Ms Wandi wrote a letter to ZRA board chairman Charles Mutemwa in which she ordered that the reinstatement of Mr Siame be revoked because according to her (Wandi), it was irregularly done.

ACC deputy director-general Irene Lamba, when contacted asked that a press query should be sent through the public relations department.

In a letter dated 11th December 2013 addressed to Mr Mutemwa, Ms Wandi threatened ZRA that it was an offence for the authority to disregard her directive and that her recommendation to have Mr Siame fired should be adhered to without fail.

Ms Wandi stated in her letter that the Anti-Corruption Commission had instituted investigations into the reinstatement of Mr Siame and according to the findings of the commission, the former ZRA employee was irregularly reinstated.

The Daily Nation is yet to establish why the ACC got involved in the internal administrative actions of the ZRA and why Ms Wandi had chosen to write directly to the board chairman of the authority and not to the chief executive officer of the ZRA.

The letter captioned: RE ALLEGED IRREGULAR REINSTATMENT OF MR GEORGE SIAME AS ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF INVESTIGATIONS AT THE ZAMBIA REVENUE AUTHORITY, Ms Wandi explained that according to the findings of the commission, the legal, staff and disciplinary committee of ZRA misguided itself and the authority’s governing board to approve the reinstatement of Mr Siame.

“Dear Sir, I wish to inform you that this commission instituted investigation into the alleged irregular reinstatement of Mr George Siame and the investigations have been concluded. Our findings include inter alia that on the 18th day of May, 2013, the legal, staff and disciplinary committee of the ZRA misguided itself and ZRA governing board when it resolved to recommend and did recommend to the governing board to approve the reinstatement of Mr Siame. We hereby recommend that Mr Siame’s contract of employment be terminated as he was mistakenly reinstated. Please note that it is an offence under section 8(3) to fail to comply with section 8(2) without reasonable cause,” Ms Wandi said in her letter.

Ms Wandi said that as per ZRA grievance and disciplinary code, Mr Siame,s recourse after the appeals committee heard and determined the matter was with the courts of law and therefore his reinstatement was not in order.

According to Ms Wandi, it was not in dispute that Mr Siame conducted himself in a manner that warranted his dismissal.

She said Mr Siame was tried and found guilty and could therefore not claim that he had suffered injustice as the procedure used to hear him was not followed to the letter.

And Mr Mutemwa, the ZRA board chairman, in his response to Ms Wandi’s directive, said the issues raised in the letter were receiving the necessary attention and that they would be resolved by the end of February 2014.

Mr Mutemwa apologized to Ms Wandi for not having responded to her letter as directed, stating that the delay was mainly due to his being in Shang’ombo.

“I apologise for not having responded to your letter as directed. This delay was mainly due to my being in Shang’ombo and your letter having been brought to my attention today 14th January, 2014. I assure you that the issues raised will receive the necessary attention and resolve by the end of February 2014,” Mr Mutemwa said.