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Zimra officers arrested for faking rebates in car import scheme

Two Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) officers from Masvingo are in trouble with law as they stand accused of committing fraud by faking rebates in the civil servants’ car import scheme. This alleged action has led to potential prejudice to the Government’s revenue.

Pardon Makanda (36) and Robert Jakopo (31) are the two officers who recently appeared in court, facing charges of fraud as defined in Section 136 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23. According to the allegations, they generated a fraudulent rebate letter to import a Mercedes Benz instead of the authorized Toyota Auris vehicle.

The incident came to light when Patricia Lisa Masia (36), one of the co-accused, applied for the Ministry of Finance’s approval to import a Toyota Auris vehicle. However, she later sought to deceive Zimra by changing the vehicle to a Mercedes-Benz. With the intention of facilitating the fraud, she approached Richard Farai Sambo for assistance.

On 24 April 2023, Tendai Chapfunya (34) was approached by Sambo on behalf of Masia to help with issuing a fraudulent rebate letter, altering the details of the Toyota Auris to a Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Makanda, a Zimra official, was then contacted to generate the fake rebate letter.

Working in cahoots with Jakopo at Zimra Masvingo, Makanda created the fraudulent rebate letter in Masia’s name, showing details of the Mercedes Benz instead of the authorized Toyota Auris.

However, Zimra officials at Kariba Border Post noticed discrepancies between the authorisation and rebate letters and impounded the vehicle, exposing the fraud.

Following the court proceedings, Makanda and Jakopo were granted $500,000 bail pending trial. They are required to deposit the amount, reside at specified addresses until the case is concluded, and report to the nearest police station twice a week. Their lawyer, Mr. Wellington Mutsvadziwa, argued that they had resigned from work to cooperate with investigations and would not interfere with witnesses or evidence.