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Zimra, Quest Motors clash over import duty

by Staff reporter
14 Jun 2024 at 07:08hrs | Views
The Supreme Court has ordered a retrial in the case between Quest Motor Manufacturing Company and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) concerning import duty for parts used to assemble Toyota vehicles. Initially, Quest Motors received approval from Zimra to import these parts duty-free, but Zimra later demanded full import duty after the parts were in the company's bonded warehouse.

Quest Motors challenged this reversal, naming Zimra and its officials Innocent Chikuni and Chabveka Marekera as respondents. The High Court had dismissed Quest's appeal against Zimra, prompting Quest to seek a Supreme Court directive for a retrial with a different judge.

The conflict began when Quest Motors applied on September 28, 2022, to import spare parts for Toyota Hilux Revo vehicles, which was approved by Zimra the next day. Another application on October 4, 2022, was also approved. However, after inspecting the imported parts in Quest's bonded warehouse, Zimra demanded full import duty, arguing that the parts were more complete than allowed under semi-knocked down (SKD) kit regulations.

Quest Motors appealed internally to Zimra, but Marekera and Chikuni upheld the duty demand, stating that the imported kits did not qualify for duty suspension under Statutory Instrument (SI) 45 of 2020. Quest then approached the High Court, which ruled against them.

In their ruling, Supreme Court Justices Chinembiri Bhunu, George Chiweshe, and Joseph Musakwa found that the High Court did not adequately address the preliminary issues raised by Quest. The Supreme Court stated that the matter needs to be fully examined to determine if the review proceedings could be classified as civil under Section 196 of the Customs and Excise Act. Consequently, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a retrial to ensure justice and proper legal assessment.

Source - newsday