ZRA awards contract to Swiss firm banned in other countries

ZRA awards contract to Swiss firm banned in other countries

The Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has corruptly awarded a multi million dollar digital tax stamp contract to SICPA a corrupt Swiss company whose former Executive Vice President was jailed for 11 and half years for bribing a Brazilian official $15 million.

ZRA recently advertised for a tender to offer the digital tax stamp services which initially the authority had intended to single source but is using the advert to hoodwink the public that it followed tender procedure as required by the Zambia Public Procurement Authority.

A source close to the transaction says ZRA is aware of the dirty record of SICPA because records of their illegal dealings are in public domain including a court judgment on the 11 and half year sentence slapped on the company’s Executive Vice President in Brazil Charles Nelson Finkel regarding a $1 billion deal with the Federal Revenue of Brazil (RFB) an equivalent of ZRA.

The source says it appears some interested parties have been blinded by the huge corruption sums offered by SICPA which has been banned in several countries including Botswana, Kenya and has pending issues in South Africa over similar dealings.

MLex reported that SICPA a Swiss company operating in the authentication of banknotes and traceability markets, was the target of an anticorruption probe in Brazil as the cases involved the payment of millions of dollars in bribes to secure a contract with the Brazilian Mint.

Former SICPA Executive Vice President Charles Nelson Finkel was found guilty of the bribery charges.

Finkel, who has American and Brazilian citizenship, paid $14.5 million in bribes to a fiscal auditor in order to secure Sicpa a contract worth more than $1 billion with the Brazilian Mint between 2010 and 2015.

During the hearing prosecutors said from January 2010 until June 2015 CFC Consulting Group, a consulting company held by Finkel, paid $14.5 million to MDI Consultoria, a firm owned by fiscal auditor Marcelo Fisch de Berredo Menezes and his wife Mariangela Defeo de Menezes. CFC Consulting, headquartered in the US, sent the money to MDI Consultoria in a fictitious services agreement during the time that Sicpa was working for the Brazilian Mint.
In South Africa SICPA provides security features such as ink to South Africa’s currency. However, it remains unclear whether Sarb will conduct its own investigations or assist Swiss
On June 25 this year the Star South Africa reported that South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) was equally dragged into a multibillion-rand international corruption scandal following the 11 year imprisonment slapped on Finkel.

Sarb spokesperson Ziyanda Mtshali said: “The Sarb, in terms of section 33 of the SA Reserve Bank Act, is not in a position to comment on specific matters of individuals or entities.”

The Star South Africa reported that SICPA stressed that Finkel had no ties to South Africa, and that Brazilian authorities had not brought charges against it.
The company has equally been banned in Botswana and Kenya after similar corrupt dealings.
But despite all these well documented stories even available on the internet and in the hands of ZRA, the authority still went ahead to award the tender to this corrupt company.

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