The Herald (Harare)

1 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Zimra Suspends Five Officers

Beitbridge Bureau — The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority has suspended five officers at Beitbridge Border Post on allegations of corruption and facilitating clearance of commercial goods into the country without permits.

Investigations by The Herald reveal that Sadton Chikombero, Phibion Mutizira, Chengetai Khumbula, Rosebud Dhlakama and Tapiwa Masikati had been deployed to the commercial clearance section where large quantities of goods are cleared.

Zimra's communications officer Mr Taungana Ndoro could neither confirm nor deny the suspensions yesterday, but requested that The Herald send him written questions.

The five were suspended on November 3 following an audit on the Commercial Clearance Department.

Sources at Zimra yesterday said that some members of the group, worked in the quires section where bills of entry documents would be reviewed for factual errors.

They allegedly originated some fake permits to facilitate their illicit activities. Wymark Investments, a Beitbridge based clearing company has also been implicated in the scam.

According to Zimra's Commercial guidelines on imports and exports, commercial importation include; goods imported for commercial purposes and goods imported by organisations.

The following documentation is also required when clearing commercial importation:

  • Bill of Entry (Form 21)
  • Suppliers' invoices
  • Export or Transit Bill of Entry from the country of export (where applicable)
  • Bill of Lading (where applicable)
  • Value Declaration Forms
  • Rail Advice Note
  • Port Charges Invoices (where applicable)
  • Agent/Importer's Worksheet
  • Original Permits
  • Licenses
  • Duty Free Certificates
  • Rebate Letters and Value Rulings (where applicable).

It is also reported that in cases where there was no adequate documentation for customs clearance procedures the suspended officers would originate some with the assistance of bogus clearing agents.

In some cases they are accused of having allowed the clearance of some prohibited goods without proper documentation and under wrong tariffs.

The audit report also revealed that at times these officers would work in cahoots with clearing agents to forge permits or would originate papers to facilitate the importation of various goods under wrong tariff codes.

Zimra introduced the Asycuda World (automated system for customs data) in October last year. The system is touted as a more efficient and advanced system for customs data processing via the Internet.

According to Zimra the move was aimed at reducing corruption as it reduced chances of more interface and wheeler dealing between its employees and clients.

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