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Car smugglers nabbed

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KWEKWE Police have impounded 10 vehicles imported from South Africa and arrested two Harare-based suspects involved in the racket to smuggle and fraudulently register the cars.

Peter Machekera (33) and Pascal Mafirakureva (28), both of Harare, where dragged to the Kwekwe Magistrates Court facing charges of fraud after they allegedly duped Action Chinjekure of Kwekwe into believing they had legally cleared his vehicles and registered them with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra).

It is the States case that Chinjekure imported 10 vehicles which included an Isuzu KB350, Nissan 1400, Renault Scenic, Audi A4, Ssang Yong Karando, Mercedes Benz truck, an E240 Mercedes Benz, Mitsubishi L300, Iveco dally truck and a Hino truck from South Africa in 2010 on a temporary import permit.

It is alleged Chinjekure then decided to register the vehicles in Zimbabwe and approached Machekera who posed as a Zimra official and Mafirakureva as a clearing agent and asked for help in clearing the vehicles.

Chinjekure was asked to pay R99 000 as duty to clear the vehicles and get registration books, which he did.

But the two reportedly obtained blank vehicle registration books and endorsed them with Chinjekures vehicle particulars before giving them to him.

The offence in which Zimra was defrauded of $79 801 in duty was only discovered on March 7 when following a tip-off police swooped at Chinjekures home in Kwekwe and took all the registration books for cross-checking with the Central Vehicle Registry office. It was then established that the registration books were all fake.

Lawyers representing the suspects, who were remanded in custody when they appeared before magistrate Taurai Manwere on Monday, are now battling to secure the release of the accused on bail.

Defence lawyer Liberty Mashanyare told the court his clients had no case to answer since they did not bring the vehicles into Zimbabwe.

Instead he queried why the police had not arrested Chinjekure and charged him with smuggling and fraud because since as a reasonable man he should have suspected that R99 000 could not have been enough to clear all his vehicles.

The court is expected to deliver its ruling on the bail application today.

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