POLICE in Plumtree have arrested a senior Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) official stationed in Bulawayo who is allegedly linked to a scam of fraudulently registering imported vehicles.Tatenda Terrence Mahachi, 29, employed as a revenue specialist, was exposed after he allegedly forged registration documents for a car which was recently imported from the United Kingdom.
He allegedly teamed up with Oscar Muchenje, 28, from Harare and Herbert Chadehumbe, who is still at large.
Muchenje and Chadehumbe allegedly assisted Mahachi to import a Nissan Pathfinder vehicle from Namibia and evaded paying duty.
Mahachi appeared before Plumtree magistrate Gideon Ruvetsa facing criminal abuse of duty charges.
His accomplice, Muchenje, appeared separately facing fraud charges.
Mahachi denied the allegations and was remanded out of custody to February 12 for trial. Muchenje will also appear on that day.
Prosecuting, Stanley Chinyanganya said sometime in early January this year, Chadehumbe arrived at the Zimra offices and issued Mahachi with a vehicle registration application belonging to Mehluli Khumalo.
He said Chadehumbe also gave Mahachi a vehicle registration number, a customs clearance number which belonged to Khumalo and an advice of sale form which indicated that Chadehumbe had purchased the vehicle from CMED.
“Mahachi then issued Chadehumbe with a new registration book and new registration number plates for the vehicle which was in Walvis Bay in Namibia under the pretext that it was bought in the country,” said Chinyanganya.
He said Muchenje then took the number plates and proceeded to Namibia to collect the vehicle worth $13,626 which was awaiting importation and replaced its original number plates with those he had been issued by Mahachi.
Chinyanganya said Muchenje was arrested on January 17 at the Plumtree Border Post while trying to bring the vehicle into the country without paying duty.
“Muchenje arrived at the border with the vehicle which had a Zimbabwean number plate. He indicated to the border officials that he had gone to Botswana for a visit. He was then asked to produce a temporary import permit which is issued to drivers upon leaving the country which they later surrender upon their return but he failed,” said Chinyanganya.
He said upon realising that he had been exposed Muchenje tried to flee from border officials but was intercepted by the police who arrested him.
Chinyanganya said upon his arrest, Muchenje revealed that he had been assigned to collect the vehicle by Chadehumbe. Further investigations revealed that Mahachi was the one who fraudulently registered the vehicle.
The value prejudiced to the state was $11,717.