BY KENNETH NYANGANI
Prominent Mutare businessman, Ernest Mungwari, owner of Tenda Buses, has been arrested on allegations of obstructing the police and Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) officials from confiscating goods that had been smuggled into the country.
Mungwari (72) and businesswoman Mary Njokwe (34) yesterday appeared before Mutare magistrate Tendai Mahwe, who granted them $150 bail each and ordered them not to interfere with the State witnesses.
The pair was not asked to plead and will appear in court on November 28 for trial.
Prosecutor Nyasha Mukonyora told the court that Mungwari and Njokwe obstructed police officers and Zimra officials from confiscating contraband that had been smuggled into the country.
Mukonyora told the court that on October 13, three police officers were on anti-smuggling duties at Sakubva bus terminus.
The detectives received a tip off that Njokwe had loaded contraband from South Africa which she had received from a Tenda bus.
Detectives proceeded to Tenda garage in Mutare and observed two motor vehicles leaving the premises.
The detectives followed the motor vehicles until they reached Sakubva Musika rank where they intercepted them.
After the detectives intercepted the vehicles, the court was further told that the detectives demanded to see the declaration papers of the goods, but none could be produced, prompting the cops to effect an arrest on Njokwe.
The detectives allegedly removed the keys from one of the vehicles and ordered Njokwe to surrender the vehicle.
A few minutes later, Mungwari arrived at the scene driving a Range Rover and mobilised touts to assist him. Over 20 touts violently offloaded the goods from the vehicle and took them to Njokwe’s shop.
Mungwari reportedly used some spare keys and drove the vehicle away.
On October 14, the detectives teamed up with ZRP Support Unit details and Zimra officials and arrested Mungwari and Njokwe. Njokwe led the police to the shop where the contraband had been offloaded.
The goods were seized under Zimra notice of seizure number 035832L.