POLICE and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) are investigating the theft of a car from a Customs and Excise Transit Shed owned by Vice-President Kembo Mohadi's company at the Beitbridge Border Post.
A Mercedes Benz ML63AMG Station Wagon, which was under seizure, was stolen on December 3, 2019 from Mohadi's Malindi Transit Shed, prejudicing the government of about US$8 000 in duty and storage.
It later turned out that the car had been stolen from South Africa.
The “thieves” followed up the car and had the chance to prepare a makeshift road and drive the car through a gate.
The “thieves” accessed the keys kept by Zimra and those of the gate which were being kept by guards and operators of the Malindi Transit Shed.
Security sources said the “thief” could be within the structures of Malindi Transit Shed.
Matabeleland South police spokesperson Chief Inspector Philisani Ndebele yesterday said no arrests had been made yet.
“I'm not in the office to give you details of the progress of our investigations,” he said.
Zimra spokesperson Francis Chimanda said appropriate action would be taken after investigations.
“The matter is still under investigation and the course of action that will be taken by the authority will be guided by the outcome of the investigations,” Chimanda said.
“The vehicle was South African registered, which had been reported stolen in South Africa.
According to the registration book, the registration number for the vehicle is HZB884MP,” he said. Chimanda said there was nothing sinister about the vehicle having been at Malindi Transit Shed.
“Yes, these vehicles can be allowed in transit sheds depending on the circumstances of their importation,” he said.
He was, however, hazy on what constitutes a violation of conditions under which licences for transit sheds are issued.
He said the exact details of any violations could only be established upon completion of on-going investigations.
A number of cars have previously left unaccounted for at the Malindi Transit Shed.
In 2017, a Toyota Prado was recovered by police at Bubi Checkpoint after mysteriously exiting the transit shed where vehicles are held pending finalisation of customs and excise formalities.
Two other Mercedes Benz sedan cars were recovered by Masvingo Zimra officials who discovered that they had left without paying duty.
That discovery led to investigations that resulted in the recalling of 433 cars believed to have been smuggled mostly through Beitbridge and Plumtree.
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission has been roped into the wide-ranging investigations that have resulted in the arrest of several Zimra officers. One officer is known to have cleared 183 cars duty free, taking advantage of a flawed system.