Bid to smuggle 131k litres petrol using soya bean receipts foiled

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By Staff Reporter

ALERT Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) officials at Forbes Border Post foiled an attempt by two clearing agents to smuggle 131 000 litres of fuel into the country.

The smugglers are said to have altered original import documents and producing fake papers which stated the trucks they were clearing were carrying Crude Degummed Soya beans which is exempted from paying duty.

The two suspects, Malven Mugodoki (38) and Wellington Kasalaweka (34) denied the charges when they appeared before Mutare magistrate Tendai Mahwe who remanded them out of custody to August 17 on $1 000 bail each.

They were ordered to report once a week Friday at Mutare Central police station.

The pair was represented by Chris Ndlovu of Gonese and Ndlovu Associates.

Prosecutor Godwish Dzivakwe told court that on July 15, 2020, at Forbes border post in Mutare, Mugodoki who is a clearing agent for Vernson Freight Limited received petrol import documents from three truck drivers for trucks with registration numbers AEZ 3521, ACU 9772 with trailer reg AEZ 4731 which were loaded with 45 000, 41 000 and 45 000 litres of petrol respectively for clearing process at Zimra.

Upon receiving the import document, Mugodoki connived with Kasalaweka to defraud Zimra by altering the original documents they received from drivers in which the products indicated as petrol were to appear as Crude Degummed soya beans oil which is exempted from paying import duty.

Court heard they proceeded to Kasalaweka workplace at Hurudza house, corner Aerodrome road and First Street where they forged the import invoices to indicate that the products being loaded was Crude Degummed Soya beans oil.

Armed with forged import invoices, the suspects subcontracted Southern Business Services Clearing Agents to process the clearance on their behalf since they are the ones authorised to clear the tankers.

It was further heard that Southern Business Services Clearing Agents tendered the forged documents to Zimra Crew Desk at GMS for processing.

Acting upon misrepresentation, Zimra produced the manifests for three trucks.

After producing the manifests, Zimra officials received information to the effect that the three trucks had petrol instead of Crude Degummed Soya beans.

The three trucks were impounded, leading to arrest of the suspects and recovery of original imports documents, the manifests showing false declaration and computers with soft copies of the forged documents.

The three trucks and contents were seized by Zimra and seizure forms were issued and produced as exhibits in court