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Two more Zimra officials up for abuse of office

by Staff Reporter
20 Dec 2020 at 23:27hrs | Views
Two more Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) officials at Beitbridge Border Post have been arrested as Government intensifies crackdown on rent-seeking activities at the border.

Nelson Chinguwo and Innocent Sithole allegedly released goods that had been seized for violation of customs laws.
The state stood to lose more than $6,2 million and US$8 000 in import revenue.

Under the customs law, goods seized from offenders are kept in a State warehouse for 90 days before being disposed of through an auction in the event the owners fail to settle matters with the revenue collector within that period.

Authorities estimate that the country could be losing about US$1 billion in uncollected import duty due to smuggling and other criminal activities along the Limpopo River annually.

Last week, senior members of the Joint Operations Command (JOC) led by State Security Minister Owen Ncube, said the Government was upgrading and tightening screws on criminal activities along the border.

Chinguwo and Sithole's arrest follows that of three other Zimra officials last week, who are accused of facilitating the smuggling of four tankers laden with 176 000 litres of unleaded petrol worth US$85 000 in import duty.

Chinguwo and Sithole who are separately charged for Criminal Abuse of Office, have since appeared before Beitbridge Resident Magistrate, Mr Toyindepi Zhou.

Chinguwo who is alleged to have released goods valued at $5,9 million and US$8 000 was remanded to December 24 on $30 000 bail.

Sithole is charged for releasing goods worth $160 000 and was remanded to same date on $20 000 bail.

The State led by Mr Ronald Mugwagwa alleges that Zimra seized an assortment of goods at Beitbridge Border Post in June this year from various people for violating customs laws.

The goods were locked in a State warehouse at Manica Transit Shed.

They were subject to release on condition the owners paid import duty amounting to $6,2 million and US$8 000.
He said between November 24 and December 3, Chinguwo released part of the goods attracting the import duty of $5,9 million to their owners while Sithole released goods worth $160 000.

The prosecutor said the matter came to light on December 3 when a senior Zimra official checked records after coming across some of the owners leaving the State warehouse at Manica Transit Shed.

He discovered that the duo had tampered with records to cause the release of the said consignment.

The matter was reported to the police leading to the arrest of Chinguwo and Sithole. In addition, Zimra seized the intercepted goods. — @tupeyo

Source - Chronicle