By Prosper Dembedza
Harare magistrate Mrs Rumbidzai Mugwagwa yesterday deferred to August 29 the matter in which former Principal Director State Residences in the Office of the President and Cabinet Douglas Tapfuma allegedly abused his office by facilitating the importation of vehicles without paying excise duty.
Tapfuma (53), who was recently arrested as part of the ongoing anti-corruption blitz by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC), is facing three counts of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer involving seven vehicles.
Allegations around the matter arose when Tapfuma bought two personal mini buses from South Africa under the guise of the Government on April 10, 2018, chassis numbers KDH225-0001125 and KDH 225-0002048, respectively.
On April 17, 2018 Tapfuma allegedly assigned Bonani Ganyane an officer working in the transport section of the Department of State Residences to proceed to Beitbridge and facilitate clearance of the two vehicles on behalf of the department using report order forms as if they were Government vehicles.
It is the State case that clearance of goods by report order form is a clearance procedure that is normally used by Government departments to apply for deferred clearance of goods from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.
Ganyane allegedly proceeded to Beitbridge and provisionally cleared the vehicles using report order forms. After clearing the alleged vehicles, Ganyane advised Tapfuma who instructed him to hand over the vehicles to Vongaishe Mupereri who at that time was House of Assembly Member for Mbizo Constituency.
The court heard that on April 20, 2018 Tapfuma made an application to the Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet requesting for duty-free certificates in the name of President’s Department and they were issued.
Tapfuma allegedly applied for duty exemption for the vehicles at Zimra which was granted. He then registered the vehicles at Central Vehicles Registry under the name of the President’s Department and started using the vehicles for his personal use.
The alleged vehicles were liable to excise duty of US$3 180. The Herald