THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) are yet to release World Boxing Council welterweight champion Charles Manyuchi’s passport, almost 20 days after confiscating it.
BY HENRY MHARA
Manyuchi’s passport was seized by the tax authorities on July 22 on his return from Italy where he had successfully defended his title by beating Italian Gianculla Frezza into submission in the sixth round.
Zimra initially confiscated the trophy that was presented to Manyuchi for winning the bout, before later releasing it on the condition that the boxer surrenders his passport.
Zimra allegedly want Manyuchi to pay duty for the trophy before they can release the passport.
Manyuchi yesterday said he was “deeply disappointed” by Zimra’s actions.
He added that Zimra’s continued holding of his documents is threatening to interrupt preparations for his upcoming fights.
The 26-year-old is set to travel to Zambia at the end of this month to begin camp for a fight in November.
But the trip currently hangs in the balance, as Zimra continue to frustrate him.
“To be honest, I don’t know why they are doing this to me,” said Manyuchi yesterday.
“They still have my passport and they are showing no signs of releasing it. They want me to declare the trophy I won but I don’t remember them confiscating trophies and medals that were won and brought into the country by other sportspersons before me. Why didn’t they confiscate Kirsty Coventry’s gold medals which she won at the Olympics?
“I want to travel to Zambia to begin camp later this month, but I’m not sure at the moment if I will be able to travel because I don’t have travel documents. I have a big fight in November which I need to prepare adequately, but this is frustrating me,” added Manyuchi who was honoured with a State banquet by President Robert Mugabe at State House a fortnight ago.
No comment could be obtained from Zimra with its chief corporate communications officer Mr Taungana Ndoro not answering his mobile phone.
Mugabe gave Manyuchi $50 000 as a reward for winning the fight. Speaking at the function, Tourism minister Walter Mzembi and acting Sport, Arts and Culture minister Supa Mandiwanzira criticised Zimra for seizing the passport, but it appears the taxmen are unyielding.
“I was given money by the President, but I cannot even enjoy it because of this situation. I had also wanted to go out and buy goods and groceries for my family but I can’t,” said Manyuchi.
Manyuchi however paid tribute to the nation for the support he has been receiving in the past weeks, especially after his exploits in Italy.
“I’m overwhelmed and thankful for the support I have been getting from the nation. A lot of people have come through to show their appreciation. I once again want to thank the President for the gesture. This was my wish to be recognised by the government and I’m very happy that it happened. I did the country proud, put it on the map and I think I deserved the recognition I got.”
He also thanked his sponsors MrT35, who are the principal sponsor, Bopela Group and Zanu PF MP Daniel Shumba.
“Those have been very supportive to me, and I’m hoping they will continue to do the good job they are doing. I want to also thank the other sponsors who I didn’t mention, their contribution to the growth of my career is highly appreciated,” said the Masvingo-born boxer who has also started to give back to the community after he last week donated clothes to Mother Theresa’s Home in Mutoko.