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Zimra official who was on the run over USD$400k fraud finally arrested

By Peter Matika

A 51-YEAR-OLD woman from Plumtree employed by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has been arrested for allegedly defrauding the authority of US$400 000.

Semkelwe Maphosa, according to police, committed the crimes between January and July this year and is facing up to 40 counts of fraud.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the arrest, saying she would soon appear in court.

“Police in Plumtree last week arrested a 51-year-old woman in connection with 40 cases of fraud which occurred between January-July 2019 at Plumtree Border Post.

“The suspect defrauded the revenue authority of up to US$400 000, by forging Customs Clearance Certificates of over 50 different types of vehicles. She will appear in court soon,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.

He said police would not tire from carrying out their duties and fighting against corruption.

“Such people are the root cause of crippling our economy and as police we will not relax and let them have their way. We will work towards fighting all criminal elements in our country,” said Asst Comm Nyathi. 

In October this year two Zimra officers, Teeklar Ndlovu (55) and Norest Ushe (29), were arrested for fraudulently clearing 50 vehicles without charging import duty.

Maphosa at the time was said to be still at large and the police were looking for her.

Ushe was working at a private import section responsible for clearance of private goods before he was changed to a section where he was responsible for scanning goods.

It is alleged that in February this year, while working at private imports section, he was issued with an SAP password which enabled him to capture, view and print customs clearance certificates in the Zimra system.

Ushe allegedly fraudulently entered 50 vehicles into the Zimra system and the authority lost potential revenue in the form of unpaid duty amounting to US$432 767,54 for 39 vehicles and $1 469 791,58 for 11 vehicles.

It is alleged that when the anomaly was discovered, Ushe was found in possession of fake customs clearance certificates and customs clearance certificate printouts.

Five motor vehicles were also recovered and Ushe was allegedly found in possession of a Zimra date stamp allegedly used in the commission of the crime. Ushe is alleged to have forged customs clearance certificates, endorsed them with used serial numbers. Sunday News/The Herald

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