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FORMER Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development Terrence Mukupe and three accomplices spent last night in remand prison pending sentencing today after being convicted for importing more than 138 000 litres of diesel in three tankers without paying duty.
Mukupe was convicted along with drivers Sam Kapisoriso, Joseph Taderera and Leonard Mudzuto for unlawfully importing diesel without paying duty. The three drivers drove the tankers into Zimbabwe with diesel meant for DRC, but replaced the fuel with water in Zimbabwe.
The National Prosecuting Authority of Zimbabwe said after conviction the four lost bail and are in custody pending sentence today, at the High Court, before Justice Benjamin Chikowero.
The State proved that on 27 January 2017 at Forbes Border Post in Mutare, the four brought in the diesel but misrepresented that the fuel was going to be offloaded in the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, they drained the tankers in Zimbabwe, before filling them up with water.
“The matter came to light on 30 January 2017 when officials from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) intercepted them at Chirundu One Stop Boarder Post to verify the nature of the goods they were carrying. They found water. The smuggling racket prejudiced the Zimra of US$55 591,60 in customs duty.
Mukupe and his accomplices were arrested in February 2017 and appeared at Karoi magistrates court charged with fraud.
They were charged with fraud as defined in the Criminal Law or alternatively contravening Section 174(1) (e) of the Customs and Excise Act with a false declaration).
Charges against the four arose on January 26 2017, when Kapisoriso, Mutsvene and Taderera entered the country through Forbes Border Post, driving tankers with diesel from Beira, Mozambique en-route the DRC.
While in Zimbabwe the three truck drivers allegedly connived with Mukupe to empty the diesel and replace it with water.
Upon arrival at Chirundu Border Post on January 31 as they proceeded to the DRC, a physical examination on samples of the contents in the tankers was carried out, which later showed that the tankers contained water and not diesel.