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Car scam exposed

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Four United Kingdom-based Zimbabweans were arrested last week for allegedly defrauding Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) of $143 490 in unpaid custom duties through an alleged scam.

The accused, two men and two women allegedly forged pay slips and resignation letters purportedly from UK employers and also P45, P60 tax certificates in the names of Zimbabweans who were allegedly identified in UK, to facilitate the scam.

Silent Masawi (39) and Moude Samuriwo (43) who has permanent leave to stay in Britain were jointly charged while Tasara Freeman Makumbe (35) and Zvikomborero Sihle Sibanda (23) appeared separately before Harare provincial magistrate Shane Kubonera.

All the accused were not asked to plead and were remanded to today for bail ruling after prosecutor Michael Reza opposed bail yesterday.

The State alleges on Monday last week at Plumtree Border Post, Masawi and Samuriwo hatched a plan to defraud the country by evading paying import duty.

Pursuant to their plan, they are alleged to have identified desperate Zimbabwean nationals residing in UK who intended to come back but had no funds.

They allegedly forged documents after identifying among the people, Makumbe and Sibanda.
It is alleged Masawi and Samuriwo bought five Mercedes Benz vehicles and registered two of them in their names and the others in the names of other Zimbabweans.

The vehicles were allegedly shipped to Walvis Bay port in Namibia after which some drivers were allegedly hired to drive the vehicles to Plumtree Border Post for delivery to purported owners.

It is alleged the fake documents were presented to Zimra by the accused as returning residents and through the alleged misrepresentation they were allowed rebates on the vehicles thereby prejudicing the government of $143 490 in revenue.

However, the prosecutor opposed bail and presented to the court the police were investigating the matter and that seven more vehicles were alleged to have been smuggled into the country through the same method by the accused.

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