By Nyore Madzianike
Police have started arresting Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) employees, clearing agents and car dealers involved in the smuggling of vehicles into the country, with some having already appeared in court.
ZIMRA recently published a list of vehicles that were imported into the country fraudulently before being illegally registered with the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR).
A Zimra employee, Konekai Takaidza, who was stationed at Southerton offices in Harare, allegedly teamed up with a vehicle clearing agent and stole 2 000 Customs Clearance Certificates (CCCs), which were allegedly used to fraudulently register imported cars.
Takaidza is said to have connived with the director of Macrocell Investments, Handsome Mbedzi (43) of Gwanda, and hatched a plan to defraud Zimra using the stolen CCCs.
The offence was discovered, leading to the arrest of the two, who have since appeared separately at the Harare magistrates’ court charged with fraud.
They were not asked to plead to the charges when they appeared before Ms Victoria Mashamba, who remanded them on $200 bail each.
Sometime in June 2015, Takaidza and Mbedzi allegedly stole 2 000 CCCs from Zimra stores in Southerton.
In March 2016, the two allegedly used one of the stolen CCCs to register Sindiwe Mpofu’s smuggled Honda Fit with CVR and were issued with registration number AEA 9877.
The offence came to light in September 2019 when Zimra conducted a reconciliation exercise of all CCCs and it was discovered that there was a batch with about 2 000 certificates missing.
An investigation led to the seizure of Mpofu’s Honda Fit.
Another motor vehicle clearing agent, Admire Chireru (37) of Harare, also appeared at the Harare magistrates’ court after he allegedly duped one of his clients, Prosper Gambiza, of US$7 000, which was meant for paying duty for a Toyota Fortuner imported from South Africa.
Chireru is alleged to have smuggled and fraudulently registered the car.
He was not asked to plead to the charges when he appeared before Ms Mashamba who remanded him on $500 bail.
Sometime in February last year, Gambiza bought a Toyota Fortuner in South Africa and engaged the services of Chireru to register the car with ZIMRA.
Gambiza is said to have handed Chireru US$7 000, a Temporary Import Permit and South African registration book.
After some days, Chireru allegedly handed Gambiza a new Zimbabwe registration book and number plates.
Gambiza later sold the car to Tax Matrix School.
It then emerged during the change of ownership that the Toyota Fortuner was fraudulently registered and no duty had been paid for the car. The Chronicle