Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
POLICE have arrested three Beitbridge men for allegedly defrauding a car dealer of US$6 600 in import duty last year.
Allen Nyoni (23), Kudakwashe Zowa (32) both customs clearing agents and Henry Phiri (43) a Zimbabwe Revenue Authority customs officer have since been dragged to court and charged with fraud.
The trio was arrested as part of the ongoing crackdown by Zimra on the dozens of dealers who last year smuggled or under-declared more than 500 vehicles imported into the country.
Beitbridge Resident Magistrate Mr Toyendepi Zhou remanded Nyoni and Zowa out of custody to 7 February on $5 000 bail.
Their Zimra accomplice, Phiri was remanded in custody.
Prosecuting, Mr Manyonga Kuvarega told the court on 29 June last year, Nyoni was contracted by a car dealer (whose name was not stated in court papers) to facilitate the customs clearance and importation of three vehicles from South Africa via Beitbridge Border Post.
Among the vehicles were two Toyota Alphard cars and one Honda Fit from South Africa.
The court further heard that, Nyoni then sought the services of Zowa to speed up the process and their combined import duty was then pegged at US$6 600 which was paid in full by the importer.
Mr Kuvarega said Zowa approached Phiri to process the certificate of customs clearance (CCC).
He said instead of capturing the vehicle details in the Zimra system, Phiri colluded with the two to produce fake CCC for the vehicles.
The State said the three vehicles were later released from Zimra on the strength of the fraudulent clearance documents.
Mr Kuvarega said the trio then converted the import duty money and the issue came to light during a Zimra audit programme when the concerned cars were enlisted for forfeiture for violating customs regulations.
The car dealer then reported the matter to police in Harare resulting in the three men’s arrest.
The US$6 600 was not recovered.