Fuel dealer in court for excise duty evasion

HARARE - A fuel dealer yesterday appeared in court for failing to pay duty after misrepresenting to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) that his fuel consignments were in transit to the Democratic Republic of Congo when they were destined for Harare.

Rolen Muchegwa, 44, allegedly used the name of shipping and clearing company, Cilo Freight (Pvt) Ltd, to create a smokescreen not to pay duty at the border.

Magistrate Tendai Mahwe remanded Muchegwa out of custody to July 17 on $200 bail and ordered him to surrender his passport as part of his bail conditions.

The court heard that in November 2009, Muchegwa allegedly misrepresented to Zimra officials at Forbes Border Post that his fuel from Mozambique was in transit to the DRC when in actual fact he was taking it to local service stations in Harare.

Pursuant to his plan, Muchegwa allegedly connived with Cilo Freight’s agent Charles Kativhu, who is still at large, and the two agreed to clear the fuel tankers in Cilo’s name.

The court heard that between November 2009 and January 2010 the two men allegedly caused the clearance of 43 tankers by Zimra purportedly as consignments on transit to the DRC.

It is the State’s case that Zimra did not collect revenue equivalent to fuel imported for sale in Zimbabwe and neither was Cilo paid.

Prosecutor Tungamirai Chakurira said in December 2009, Zimra investigations department carried out routine checks and discovered that the fuel tankers did not cross the border into Zambia.

Zimra is alleged to have approached Cilo for clarification but they could not account for the consignment and were made to pay $270 000 but only managed to pay $120 000 to date.

In March 2010, Cilo reported the matter to the police and investigations carried out revealed that the fuel was delivered to service stations in Harare, Chitungwiza, Chegutu and Marondera under Muchegwa’s instructions.

Investigations also revealed that Muchegwa received all the proceeds from the fuel.
He went on the run after the offence was discovered and was subsequently arrested on June 14, 2010. - Helen Kadirire

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