BY NQOBANI NDLOVU/ PRAISEMORE SITHOLE
A 29-YEAR-OLD Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) official accused of defrauding his employer of US$433 000 and $1,5 million while stationed at Plumtree Border Post was yesterday denied bail by a Bulawayo magistrate on the grounds that he was a flight risk.
Norest Ushe, who faces charges of facilitating passage of smuggled vehicles into the country, yesterday appeared before magistrate Shepherd Mjanja for ruling on his application for bail pending trial.
The State, represented by Rufaro Mageza, opposed bail on the grounds that Ushe was a flight risk since he was not married.
Ushe filed the application for bail on Monday during his initial appearance, indicating that he would abide by the bail conditions set by the court.
Ushe is charged with fraud as defined in Section 136 (a) of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 (50 counts) and Criminal Abuse of Duty as a public official as defined in Section 174 (1) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9: 23.
He allegedly committed the offence while working at the private imports section at Plumtree Border Post where he was responsible for clearance of private goods before he was transferred to the scanning section where he was responsible for scanning goods.
“As from May 2019 to September 24, 2019, the accused person clandestinely captured into Zimra system information of 50 motor vehicles smuggled into the country…,” the State alleges.
“As from July 1, 2019, the accused was redeployed as a scanner where he was not supposed to continue to capture data into system, but he continued capturing data of the smuggled vehicles and facilitated their registration until September 26, 2019 when his SAP profile password was deactivated.”
As a result, Zimra was prejudiced of unpaid duty totalling US$432 767,54 for 39 vehicles and $1 469 791,58 for another 11 vehicles.