Zimra officer clears vehicles as groceries, jailed

A ZIMBABWE Revenue Authority (Zimra) officer based at Plumtree Border Post was jailed an effective six years for defrauding the tax collector of over US$500 000, excluding local currency, in illegal clearance of cars, giving them certificates of clearance used to clear groceries, blankets and household goods.

By Richard Muponde

Semkeliwe Maphosa pleaded not guilty to 40 counts of fraud, but was convicted yesterday by Plumtree regional magistrate, Bishard Chineka.

For counts 1 to 20 she was sentenced to eight years in prison, while for counts 21 to 40 she was sentenced to six years, bringing the total to 14 years.

Five years were later conditionally suspended for five years.

Another three years were suspended on condition she restitutes $1 305 348,68 by December 31.

Prosecutor Robin Mukura told the court that between January and June last year, Maphosa cleared several state-of-the-art vehicles, understating their values while using fake clearance certificates.

On the first count, it was said on January 7 last year, Maphosa cleared a 2011 Isuzu KB300, a 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser and a 2009 Toyota Land Cruiser with clearance certificates used by Tanwell Mutore, Bonnie Moyana and Loice Chicheke to clear groceries, a blanket and household goods, respectively.

The following day, Maphosa also cleared a 2000 Nissan Hardbody single cab and a 2010 Toyota Hilux single-cab with clearance certificates belonging to Monica Muropa and Venita Chasale used to clear a stove and
blanket.

She cleared 40 vehicles using the same modus operandi.

The matter came to light after an internal investigation, leading to her arrest.

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