ZIMRA last week intercepted and arrested 2 men who were attempting to smuggle over 200 000 litres of fuel using papers that claimed the tankers were carrying crude de-gummed soya bean oil which is exempted from paying duty, The Herald reports.
The 2, Malvern Mugodoki (38) an agent working for Vernson Freight Pvt Ltd and Wellington Kusalaweka (34), who operates from Hurudza House in Mutare, were released on $10 000 bail each.
It is the state’s case that:
Mugodoki, a clearing agent, received petrol import documents from three truck drivers Beven Munyaradzi Mavhaza, George Muzimbawake, and Langton Mabee for processing. He was tasked to facilitate the clearing of three trucks: registration number AEZ 3183 loaded with 45 000 litres of petrol, AEU 9772 with 41 000 litres and AEG 7618 with 45 000 litres.
After receiving the papers, Mugodoki allegedly connived with Kasalaweka to alter the original import documents where the product was indicated as petrol so that it reads ‘crude de-gummed soya bean oil’, exempted from paying import duty.
The pair later subcontracted Southern Business Services clearing agents, who are authorised to clear tankers, to do the work. The subcontracted agents handed the forged documents over to Zimra officials for processing.
Acting on the misrepresentation, Zimra produced the manifests for the three trucks. Later on Zimra received information that the tankers had petrol and that its officers had been duped. Manicaland police CID together with Zimra officers swiftly reacted and impounded the trucks. A check on the load proved the product to be petrol. The two were arrested and charged with fraud.
While seized with the case of three tankers, police also received information that two other tankers ferrying were awaiting fraudulent clearance by the same suspects. The two trucks ferrying about 90 000 litres of fuel purchased by some two Harare-based companies were also impounded.
Manifests showing the false declarations and the computer used in the fraud were held as exhibits in respect of the first three tankers’ case. The original import papers for petrol were recovered from the house of one of the suspects’ girlfriend while copies of the fake papers presented to Zimra were recovered at Southern Business Clearing Agents’ premises in Mutare.
The smuggling case also prompted ZACC to demand fuel dealing papers from all 42 Fuel companies in Zimbabwe as some companies are reportedly selling fuel for less than the gazetted $1.28 per litre price which raises questions about where they have acquired it from.
More: The Herald