The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has arrested the alleged mastermind from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) who is behind a car import scam that saw vehicles paying less than what they were valued at Beitbridge Border Post.
It is feared the country may have lost millions of dollars in unpaid revenue from this vehicle smuggling fraud case, as some luxury vehicles were illicitly imported without even paying customs duty while others were under-invoiced.
The smuggling mastermind from ZIMRA is suspected to have connived with some unscrupulous shipping agents or third parties at the country’s largest border post.
In an interview with CITE, ZACC spokesperson, Commissioner John Makamure, confirmed the arrest and said investigations were still ongoing and more arrests yet to be made.
“I can confirm that the mastermind behind this vehicle scam has been arrested. More arrests are yet to be made. Investigations are an ongoing operation and we are working closely with ZIMRA,” he said.
Commissioner Makamure, however, refused to reveal the mastermind’s identity, saying the commission was yet to issue a full statement pertaining to the issue.
The illegal operation was exposed after some vehicles were intercepted by some ZIMRA officials who noticed the anomaly and unearthed the manipulation of clearance certificates.
Last week, ZIMRA issued a statement recalling about 400 vehicles suspected to be on the smuggled vehicles list.
Owners of the suspected smuggled vehicles were instructed to visit ZIMRA’s loss control offices, carrying all their custom clearance documents for the cars before November 23, 2019.
The issued statement also included a list of vehicle registration numbers, chassis numbers, vehicle type and owners’ names.
It is believed that corrupt ZIMRA officials used fictitious clearing details to process Customs Clearing Certificates (CCC), which were used to release and register vehicles as duly imported.
After releasing the vehicles, the corrupt officials would allegedly share part of the duty that was retained with the agent, since the details of cars as written on the CCC forms would be valued less than original value.