Beitbridge — The trial of two bogus clearing agents who are believed to be part of a car smuggling syndicate has been set for March 13 this year. The duo was arrested last year for theft of trust property. Pepukai Moyo (34) of 558 Caravan Park in Beitbridge and Blessing Mutote (20) of 8445 Kuwadzana Phase 3 in Harare are facing four counts of theft of trust property, one count for using forged documents, one count of smuggling and one count of unlicensed clearing.
The duo are also accused of stealing US$10 265 from car importers, forging customs documents and smuggling cars from South Africa into Zimbabwe.
They were both remanded in custody when they appeared before Beitbridge resident magistrate Miss Gloria Takundwa.
It is the State's case that during the period extending from August to October last year, three private car importers namely Malchezedec Chaniwa of 336 Marimba park, Tichaona Mweta of 8493 10th Close in Glen Norah and Brian Chinwanda of 2317 in the same suburb imported three vehicles from South Africa through Beitbridge border post.
The vehicles which included a Toyota Progress, Toyota Hiace and VW Polo where offloaded at the Manica transit shed in Beitbridge pending customs clearance.
The trio allegedly contracted Pepukai and Mutote who were masquerading as customs clearing agents to facilitate the clearance of the vehicles with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.
On three occasions, the duo allegedly used forged documents and a Zimra date stamp to illegally clear the vehicles.
They allegedly by passed check points manned by the ZRP Border Control and Minerals Unit and Zimra to remove the vehicles from the transit shed without paying customs duty.
The duo allegedly forged customs imports documents indicating that they had paid import duty of $1 788, 21 which they used to remove the all the three vehicles from the transit shed.
Pepukai and Mutote were arrested on October 15 and all the vehicles were recovered under their control.
It was also established that all customs formalities had been evaded.
The cars were subsequently seized by Zimra.
The State was prejudiced of US$7 975 customs revenue for the three vehicles.
The State further alleges that on October 12, Pepukai and Mutote were entrusted by Jiles Manyanyi of Harare to clear his motor vehicle, a Honda CRV. They received US$2 290 for Customs Duty but they allegedly converted the money into their own use.
The duo allegedly forged a customs bill of entry number a duty payment receipts which they also stamped with a forged Zimra date stamp.
They then proceeded to Manica warehouse where they intended to remove the car without paying import duty. The anomaly was discovered by an alert Zimra official at one of the checkpoints at Manica.
The car was later released to the importer on payment of full duty but Manyanyi never recovered his money from the duo.