Andile Tshuma, Chronicle Reporter
POLICE have arrested one of two Zimra officials who were on the run after being fingered in a fraud case involving a syndicate that allegedly smuggled vehicles worth millions of dollars into the country through Plumtree Border Post.
Police arrested Teeklar Ndlovu (55), who was allegedly on the run since Friday while Ms Semukele Maphosa is said to be still in hiding.
The two women are 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 ZW$1,4 million.
Ushe is accused of fraudulently clearing 50 cars into the Zimra capturing system without officially charging duty.
Sources said Maphosa and Ndlovu worked together at the Zimra registry, responsible for typing customs clearance certificates. They allegedly forged their superiors’ signatures on the certificates.
It is alleged that Ndlovu had gone into hiding on Friday before police officers got wind of her whereabouts and arrested her at her hideout, which has not yet been disclosed.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the development yesterday.
“I can confirm that we arrested Teeklar Ndlovu stationed at the Zimra Bulawayo office in connection with a suspected case of fraud through vehicle clearance at the border. Further investigations are underway,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
“We are still looking for Semukele Maphosa who is still on the run and are appealing to members of the public to assist with any information that may lead to her whereabouts,” he said.
Sources who spoke to Chronicle said part of Ndlovu’s charge sheet includes fraudulently clearing luxury vehicles by undercharging or exempting duty.
“She cleared a 2018 Toyota Fortuner which was supposed to pay duty of R369 000, a 2008 Toyota Fortuner which was supposed to pay duty of R145 000 and a 2007 Hummer station wagon which was supposed to pay R109 000, amongst other things. The total of the three vehicles duty was R623 000. Zimra received less that R100 000 for the vehicles,” said a source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Police sources said Ndlovu was busted after alert auditors noticed that the three vehicles had been underdeclared and undercharged.
Ndlovu is expected to appear in court today, charged with fraud.
Ushe is alleged to have forged customs clearance certificates allegedly supplied by the syndicate that includes the two women, endorsed them with used serial numbers printed on bond paper and used them to register and license luxury vehicles without paying duty. — @andile_tshuma