A Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) officer from Plumtree has been sentenced to 14 years in jail for fraud.
According to court papers, Semkelwe Maphosa was linked to a 39 cars smuggling racket that defrauded Zimra of more than US$530 000.
Maphosa is suspected to be part of a criminal syndicate involving another Zimra official, Norest Ushe (29) who was arrested and has since appeared in court for fraud charges of over US$430 000 and $1,4 million.
She was convicted on 39 counts of fraud and acquitted on one count by Plumtree regional magistrate Mr Bishard Chineke who sentenced her to 14 years imprisonment.
“Fraud is a very serious crime and what makes this offence even more serious is the number of counts, which are just too much and it shows that it was carefully planned. The amount of level of prejudice is high, which means she benefitted immensely.
“Between January 7 and July 25 last year, Maphosa clandestinely captured into the Zimra system information on 39 cars smuggled into the country thereby generating an equipment number which if punched would display the particulars of the vehicle and enable printing CCC on the serialised forms at any Zimra station or printing of protected format document on bond paper,” said Mukura.
He added ,”Accused defrauded her employer on several occasions showing more of greed than necessity. Corruption is a cancer in Zimbabwe and those who commit such offences deserve lengthy custodial sentences.”
Of the 14 years, five years were suspended on condition that she doesn’t commit a similar offence within that period.
A further three years were suspended on condition Maphosa restituted to Zimra $1 305 345,68 by December 30 this year.
According to state papers, the luxury cars, worth millions of dollars, which were smuggled include various models such as Mercedes Benz, Isuzu, Landrover Discovery, Toyota Hilux, Nissan, Lexus, Mazda, Hummer H3, Jeep Grand
Cherokee, Ford Ranger, BMW, Audi Q7, Toyota Fortuner, and Toyota Quantum among others.