Zimbabwe: Ex-State Residencies Boss Found Guilty

Former principal director of State residences in the Office of the President and Cabinet Douglas Tapfuma was yesterday found guilty of importing eight personal cars without paying tax.

Harare regional magistrate Ms Esthere Chivasa convicted Tapfuma on three counts of criminal abuse of office as a public officer after he used a code on the bill of entry reserved for goods imported by the Office of the President and Cabinet.

Today, Tapfuma will return to court for his evidence in mitigation and the State's evidence in aggravation with the court then expected to pass sentence.

Tapfuma imported a commuter omnibus and a Honda Accord using the bill of entry reserved for importing the President's personal goods.

He also imported another Toyota Hiace, Toyota Altezza, BMW 318i, two Honda Fit models and a Nissan Tiida using codes exclusively used to import Government goods.

Tapfuma reportedly imported the cars in 2018.

Tapfuma, who was being represented by lawyer Jonathan Samkange was convicted after full trial.

Ms Chivasa said his actions were purposeful and well-calculated knowing that no one would scrutunise him considering that he reported directly to his principals.

Magistrate Chivasa also noted that the nature and extent of Tapfuma's conduct seriously proved that he had abused his office as a public officer.

The magistrate noted that Tapfuma lied in his defence when he said that there was an existing policy that allowed him to import personal cars, after Dr Ray Ndhlukula revealed that no such policy existed in his testimony in court.

She said Dr Ndhlukula told the court that he had worked in the President's Office and Cabinet for 17 years and had never heard of such a policy.

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