Smuggling ring exposed: State agents implicated in high-end vehicle scandal


Smuggling of high-end vehicles exposed: State officials implicated

A recent court case has shed light on a clandestine operation involving the smuggling of luxury vehicles into the country by certain individuals connected to various state agencies, including the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO). Harare magistrate Donald Ndirowei denied bail to three suspected car smugglers, Brian Matongo (41), Tinashe Kanda (41), and Elvis Jieman (28), during their appearance in court yesterday.

The trio has been remanded until March 10, awaiting the possible commencement of their trial, as the State awaits a statement from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra). According to State prosecutor Anesu Chirenje, the accused individuals allegedly became part of a smuggling cartel in 2018 that operated by bringing high-end vehicles from South Africa into Zimbabwe.

To facilitate their illicit activities, the suspects colluded with individuals from Zimra, Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara), Central Vehicle Registration (CVR), and even the CIO. The scheme involved fraudulently registering vehicles within the systems of these institutions.

One specific incident cited by the prosecutor occurred on December 12, 2017 when the accused, in collaboration with Wisdom Ndebele, conspired to smuggle a Toyota Fortuner from South Africa into Zimbabwe. To exploit the tax, license, and toll fee exemptions granted by Zimra, Zinara, and CVR, Kanda utilized his connections to obtain a vehicle registration book and a number plate belonging to the Office of the President and Cabinet.

Jieman then affixed the fraudulent number plate to the smuggled Toyota vehicle, thereby evading payment of taxes, vehicle license fees, and toll fees. The Office of the President and Cabinet became aware of the offence when an increasing number of missing exempted registration plates began circulating in the market. The matter was subsequently reported to the police for further investigation, leading to the recovery of the illicitly obtained vehicle and registration plates.

The revelations in this court case have raised serious concerns about corruption within state institutions and the abuse of privileges for personal gain. The alleged involvement of personnel from Zimra, Zinara, CVR, and the CIO has sparked outrage among the public, who are calling for a thorough investigation and the prosecution of all those implicated in the smuggling operation.

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