BY KENNETH NYANGANI
FOUR people from Harare were arrested in Mutare for smuggling fuel worth US$46 000 into the country.
The four, Blessing Mutsahuni, Talent Nyatanga, Josephine Mutotera, and Emmanual Mulaudzi appeared before Mutare provincial magistrate, Tendai Mahwe on Saturday to answer to a charge of smuggling. They were granted $20 000 bail each.
The accused persons, who refuted the allegations, will return to court on February 23.
The complainant in the matter is the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra).
Principal public prosecutor Kangai Tiriwambo said Mutsahuni, who is the first accused, was employed by Wells Ford International which is a commodity trading company.
“Accused two, Nyatanga is a clearing agent; accused three, Mutotera is a female adult who was once employed as a clearing agent by SBS Shipping Company at Forbes Border Post. The fourth accused, Mulaudzi is a truck driver and owner of the truck which was used to transport the fuel,” Tiriwambo said.
He told the court that Mutsahuni engaged Mulaudzi, a transport operator, to move fuel from Mozambique. Mulaudzi then assigned another driver, Benedict Majoni to drive the truck.
On January 7, Majoni who is still at large loaded 46 413 litres of unleaded petrol onto his truck in Mozambique and drove to Forbes Border Post.
Nyatanga and Mutorera, who were knowledgeable of customs clearance procedures, then approached Findlay Chireru, a clearing agent, to clear the truck with Zimra.
On January 9, Chireru subcontracted Talmore Chibuwe, who is employed by Cavinet Kings Investments to clear the fuel.
During the clearance process, Zimra is said to have placed a master seal with a serial number on the tanker, which was then removed at the point of exit at Chirundu Border Post.
Majoni, a driver who is still at large, then drove the truck, purportedly going to Zambia after having been given three days to exit the country.
However, along the way, Majoni, acting in connivance with the four accused persons, broke the seal and removed the fuel.
Upon realising that no proper acquittal processes were done at Chirundu Border Post, Cavinet Kings Investments then made a police report, which led to the arrest of the quartet.
The total amount lost to the fraudulent activity is US$46 000.
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