A Harare woman, Rumbidzai Mujuru, who was last week erroneously referred to as the daughter of Vice-President Joice Mujuru, on Friday denied the motor vehicle smuggling charges levelled against her.
Mujuru (33) pleaded not guilty to smuggling a vehicle and defrauding a Chinhoyi woman Nyarai Charimba of $7 400 when her trial opened at the Harare Magistrates’ Court. In her defence, Mujuru said she was not the one who imported the said vehicle but one Evermore Murove brought it to her.
She told the court that at the time she took possession of the vehicle, it was already registered and she had no knowledge or reasons to believe the vehicle had been smuggled into the country.
Mujuru also told the court that at the time she entered into an agreement with Charimba, the vehicle was still to be imported and when Murove brought it to her, she genuinely believed it had been properly imported. As regards to the registration book, Mujuru said Murove had refused to release the book to her claiming he wanted to be paid his balance of $2 000 first. She further told the court that if the car’s registration was fake, she was not responsible.
When Charimba took to the witness stand she, however, insisted Mujuru duped her and failed to deliver the vehicle she had ordered from her.
“I tried in vain to contact the accused (Mujuru) for a year and I was told at one point by her sister that she had gone to Malaysia where she had settled. The sister asked me to come and collect a vehicle which the accused had left with her,” Charimba said.
The court heard that after police threatened to arrest her sister, Mujuru resurfaced and proffered different excuses to Charimba and promised to deliver her vehicle.
But several efforts to get her vehicle proved fruitless, prompting Charimba to report the matter to the police. She was then given the vehicle, a Mazda Familia, which formed the basis of the charge.
According to prosecutor Patience Chimusaru, Mujuru allegedly sold an unregistered vehicle with fake registration numbers to Charimba in October 2007.
It is also alleged the vehicle had been smuggled into the country and at the time of sale, it was displaying registration numbers ABE1868.
Investigations later established that the registration plates belonged to a Datsun Nissan pick-up truck owned by a local company.