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Zimra official faces 50 fraud counts, denied bail

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By Bulawayo Correspondent


A 29-year-old Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) official based at Plumtree Border post, who is facing charges of defrauding the organisation US$433.000 and $1.5 million in local currency has been denied bail.

Bulawayo Magistrate, Shepherd Munjanja denied Norest Ushe of 16 Zimra cottages in the border town, bail and referred him to the High Court for bail determination.

Ushe is facing charges of fraud as defined in Section 136 (a) of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 (50 counts) and Criminal Abuse of Duty as a Public Official as defined in Section 174 (1) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9: 23.

Appearing for the State, Rufaro Mageza told the court that from May 2017 to 30 June 2019, the accused was working at the Private Imports Section responsible for clearance of private goods before he was transferred to the scanning section where he was responsible for scanning goods.

From May 2017 to 30 June 2019 at the Border Post, Ushe was working at the Private Imports Section responsible for clearance of goods.

In February this year, while working at the Private Imports Section, he was issued with a SAP profile password which enabled him to capture, view and print customs clearance certificates in the company’s system.

“As from May 2019 to 24 September 2019, Ushe clandestinely captured into Zimra system information of 50 motor vehicles smuggled into the country thereby generating an equipment number which when punched would display the motor vehicles particulars and enable printing of customers clearance certificates on the serialised forms at any Zimra station or printing of protected format document on bond paper,” Mageza told the court.

After that, Mageza said, Ushe would forge customs clearance certificates endorsed with used serial numbers. The serial numbers would be printed on bond paper and used to register and licence such vehicles without paying duty fees, with CVR and Zinara and acquire vehicle registration numbers.

The only genuine Zimra information would be the equipment number which would reveal true particulars of the vehicle if punched on the Zimra system, thereby appearing as if the vehicle was properly cleared.

“As from July 1, 2019, the accused was redeployed as a scanner where he was not supposed to continue to capture data into system but he continued capturing data of the smuggled vehicles and facilitated their registration until 26 September 2019 when his SAP profile password was deactivated,” Mageza further told the court.

The prosecutor said the accused fraudulently entered a total of 50 vehicles into the system and the authority lost potential revenue in the form of unpaid duty US$ 432.767.54 for 39 vehicles and $1 469.791.58 for another 11 vehicles.

The state had opposed bail alleging that Ushe has a pending case of fraud CRB PT 492/19.

It had also argued that he was likely to abscond since he is not married.