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Obert Tafadzwa Charamba, 35, a loss control officer and Stephen Masimuke, 50, a supervisor are accused of detaining a truck belonging to a Bulawayo company, Turkey Trading (Pvt) Ltd, between December 23 last year and January 14 this year.
The duo who were jointly charged, pleaded not guilty but Beitbridge magistrate Innocent
Bepura convicted them due to overwhelming evidence.
The two, who are out of custody on $200 bail each with the consent from the Prosecutor General’s office, will be sentenced on November 9.
Charamba is being represented by Reason Mutimba of Masawi and Partners while Marshal Chatsanga of Mangwana and Associates is appearing for Masimuke.
Prosecuting Foster Abheki told the court that on December 23 last year, Turkey Trading (Pvt) Ltd imported a consignment of liquor from South Africa through the Beitbridge Border Post.
He said the company then enlisted the services of their clearing agent ASB Freight to facilitate the legal importation of the liquor, and that was done.
At Beitbridge, the truck was cleared by other Zimra officials to leave the border, but it was later intercepted by Charamba and Masimuke who referred it to the container depot for further physical examination.
The physical examination was done the following day. No anomaly was picked up but the two insisted on the trucks detention without giving any reasons.
The truck and the cargo remained lodged at the depot until January 14 this year, prompting its owners to report the matter to the police.
They also approached the High Court, which ordered the trucks unconditional release.
Investigations by the police established that Charamba and Masimuke did not issue any legal documents – notice of seizure and duty schedule – as proof that the truck and the cargo were being detained legally at the container depot.
Under normal customs procedure an importer is issued with a notice of seizure accompanied by a duty schedule in cases where they would have smuggled or underpaid excise or customs duty.
Further investigations revealed that the said consignment was never entered into the Zimra books as having been detained and the two were subsequently arrested. by Thupeyo Muleya Source: chronicle