Zimra bursts Forbes Border Post fuel smuggling racket

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MUTARE – THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) last week busted a US$62 000 fuel smuggling racket in which two clearing agents allegedly disguised fuel tankers as duty-free crude soya oil, immediately leading to their apprehension by alert Zimra officers.

Malvern Mugoki, 38, and Wellington Kasalaweka, 34, of Vernson Freight (Pvt) Ltd have since appeared before Mutare magistrate, Tendai Mahwe, who freed them on ZWL$10 000 bail each to August 17.

The two were not asked to plead.

Mugoki and Kasalaweka were ordered to report at CID Mutare every Friday as part of their bail conditions.

The two Vernson Freight (Pvt) Ltd agents are being charged with fraud as defined in section 136 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

Prosecuting, Godswish Dzivakwe told the court how the two agents reportedly received petrol import documents with a combined 127 000 litres from some unnamed three truckers at Forbes Border Post on July 15.

Mugoki and Kasalaweka allegedly then connived and forged import invoices indicating that the three tankers were loaded with crude degummed soybean oil.

Armed with the forged documents, the two then allegedly approached Southern Business Services Clearing Agents to process the clearance papers on their behalf as they had no authority to clear the tankers themselves.

The forged documents were then tendered to Zimra, whose officials cleared the trucks but were tipped of the fraud before they had released the trucks.

Zimra subsequently impounded the tankers, leading to the arrest of Mugoki and Kasalaweka.

The computer with the soft copies of the forged documents was recovered from their office.

The scum had the potential to prejudice Zimra of US$62 258.68.

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