ZIMRA customs agent in US$430k theft storm

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By Erica Jecha

TINAPAN Investments Company, a registered customs clearance entity, has been dragged to court by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) on allegations of misappropriating funds amounting to US$437,433.

Represented by Tinashe Jongwe, the company appeared Tuesday before Harare Magistrate, Taurai Manuwere, and was granted ZW$50 000 bail.

The company is said to be a ZIMRA agent based in Beitbridge that holds a prepayment account for the purposes of clearing goods. The account is primarily used to effect commercial entries such as bills of entry.

According to court papers, sometime in February this year, Chaotas Investments made a payment of US$3 658 into Tinapan Investment’s prepayment account.

The money was to be converted into local currency at the then prevailing rate which was US$1: ZW$119, 5 giving a total of ZW$437 373.

However, the transfer mistakenly appeared on the ZIMRA interface account as US$437 373 and credited into Tinapan prepayment account.

Tinapan is said to have then used all the money to pay for duty for importation of motor vehicles and fuel on several occasions.

The company ran out of luck September 16 after a post clearance audit, and a discovery was made that a fraudulent deposit of US$437 373 was processed into their account and evidence had been wiped out as it was not reflecting on their bank statements.

The deposit was fraudulent and fully utilised by Tinapan Investments, and nothing was recovered.

Jongwe was subsequently arrested and detained at Rhodesville Police Station September 26.