INDUSTRY and Commerce ministry’s import and export licensing clerk appeared in court last week facing criminal abuse of office charges after she allegedly forged an import licence for Lafarge Cement Company by extending the dates of the firm’s expired licence.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Lucious Chari (32) was not asked to plead when she appeared before Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa who remanded her to October 25 on $200 bail.
It is the State’s case that on January 18, Lafarge Cement was granted authority to import 50 000 metric tonnes of cement and was issued with two separate import licences expiring on August 29 and another expiring on September 13.
It is alleged sometime in August, Lafarge approached their agent Freight World requesting for renewal of the licences.
The State alleges on August 10, Freight World visited the Industry ministry offices at Mukwati Building intending to renew the licences. They allegedly approached Chari who corruptly and unprocedurally endorsed new expiry dates on the licences, well-knowing that the licenses were non-renewable.
It is alleged she stamped the documents with an official date stamp. On September 13, Freight World unknowingly produced the altered licences at Zimbabwe Revenue Authority Forbes Border Post in a bid to clear cement on behalf of Lafarge. An alert Zimra official noticed the irregularity and a police report was made.
Ropafadzo Botsh appeared for the State.