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Zimra officer caged 3 years over beer truck

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Zimra officer caged 3 years over beer truck

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ELLEN MLAMBO
TWO NATIONS REPORTER

BEITBRIDGE- A Beitbridge ZIMRA Sealing Officer, Michael Mutanga has been jailed for three years for abuse of office by Beitbridge Resident Magistrate Takudzwa Gwazemba on Thursday last week. Six months of the sentence were suspended on condition that he does not commit a similar offence in the next five years. 


Mutanga authorised the release of a truck carrying alcohol worth US$190 000 using fraudulent clearance papers without paying duty. The incident happened on November 8, 2020, around 4:30 am at the Beitbridge border post. 
The court heard that Mutanga authorised the release of a Volvo truck with two trailers carrying alcohol worth US$187 257. He used clearance papers from another truck that carried cargo destined for Zimbabwe on November 3, 2020.


The court heard that Mutanga was deployed at ZIMRA Imports Last man checkpoint at around 4:20 am. A Volvo truck towing two trailers laden with different brands of alcohol approached the checkpoint. The driver of the truck then approached Mutanga with customs clearance papers. 
Mutanga took the papers and deliberately failed to book them in a ZIMRA checkpoint bond register. He instead went on to sign in the security guard register, authorizing the release of the vehicle and goods without going through due processes. 


His duties as a sealing officer were arming and disarming seals on transit vehicles after they have been validated by a revenue officer. He was also responsible for receiving charged seals from his supervisor and escorting selected trucks as directed by the supervisor. Mutanga, however, validated the dispatch of cargo and released the truck at the checkpoint which is the duty of a revenue officer.
The driver of the truck proceeded towards the main exit gate and was stopped by an alert security guard who queried the clearance papers signed by Mutanga allowing the vehicle to pass at the checkpoint.


Further enquiries carried out on the ZIMRA online system showed that the clearance papers were used on November 3, 2020, by another truck. 
A ZIMRA loss control officer then made a Police report, and an investigation carried out revealed that Mutanga had signed in the security register for the release of the truck.
Mutanga who was represented by Julius Maphosa of Masawi and Partners pleaded not guilty to the offence. He argued that he was not on duty on the day in question. His evidence was thwarted by three witnesses including his supervisor.https://masvingomirror.com

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