Zimra man steals $27 000 worth of cigarettes
A ZIMBABWE Revenue Authority (Zimra) official has been arrested for allegedly conniving with a suspected smuggler to steal 84 boxes of cigarettes worth $25 620 from a State warehouse in Beitbridge.
Brian Shereni, of Eland Road in the border town, allegedly stole the cigarettes in batches between 15 and 21 April this year.
Through his lawyer, Mr Reason Mutimba of Nyikadzino Legal Practice, Shereni pleaded not guilty to theft before Beitbridge resident magistrate, Ms Gloria Takundwa.
She granted him $200 bail and remanded him to September 8.
The State, led by Mr Lloyd Mupfungidza, alleges that Shereni connived with one Susan Haruperi to steal from the State warehouse. He said on February 3 this year, Zimra officials intercepted Haruperi and others along the Beitbridge-Masvingo Road.
They suspected the group was in illegal possession of 84 boxes of Chelsea and 24 boxes of Express Royal cigarettes respectively.
The officials took the contraband to the Eastern State Warehouse for storage. All the boxes were recorded in the seizure books.
The court further heard that Haruperi who fled when they were intercepted was later arrested and taken to court on charges of illegal possession of export quality cigarettes.
She was acquitted and an order was granted compelling Zimra to return her cigarettes.
Mr Mupfungidza said Haruperi approached Shereni on April 15 and they hatched a plan to steal the cigarettes.
He said on the same day, the woman collected the cigarettes which were loaded in a Hyundai truck with registration numbers ADA 0979 and was being driven by one Moses Muzhambi.
The release of the loot was recorded by a security guard manning the area, but Shereni did not record it in the acquittals book as per procedure.
The prosecutor added that on 21 April, Haruperi hired two kombis and went to Zimra armed with the court order to collect the cigarettes.
“She was supposed to collect only 8 boxes but she and Shereni loaded 92 boxes in the two boxes, and did not record them in the acquittals book as well.
The officer ran out of luck when one of the warehouses’ supervisors picked the anomaly during routine checks and made a report to the police.
The contraband worth $25 620 was not recovered.