The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) officers are engaging in fraudulent activities with car dealers in the country where they are accepting bribes from the latter for them to avoid paying duty for the vehicles they import for resale, in turn prejudicing the state of millions of dollars.
The activities have been intensified by the ongoing operation by ZIMRA where they are targeting high end vehicles that would have made it into the country without paying duty in every car sale. Instead of clamping down the vehicles and bring perpetrators to book, ZIMRA officers are demanding hefty bribes to let the car dealers off the hook.
Dealers are forced to pay the bribes because the amount of money required by ZIMRA officers will be less than that required to pay duty. Our State of the Nation news crew witnessed such a transaction at a car sale along Lomagundi Road where a ZIMRA officer demanded US$5 000 in cash to look the other way. This happened after the officer identified a high end Mercedes Benz car which had evaded duty.
Speaking after the fraudulent transaction, the car dealer who spoke to this paper on condition that we conceal his name said he had no option but to pay the bribes because the price of paying duty would be extremely high.
“This Mercedes Benz costs US$35 000 so it attracts a duty fee of more than US$15 000. That is a lot of money. But to evade I have to pay bribes to these guys so that they let me off the hook. I know the bribes are high but it’s better than the cost of paying duty. It is a risk that every car dealer would gladly take,” he said.
Our survey revealed that over 80% of high end vehicles in car sales in Harare have evaded paying duty. This means the state is being prejudiced of millions of dollars. The money could have been going into the state coffers if these fraudulent activities were not happening.
When asked for a comment, ZIMRA spokesperson Francis Chimanda referred the reporter to an individual called Ms Shoko who told the reporter that she directed his questions to the relevant department.
However, no response has been given to date.
President Mnangagwa is on record saying his government will weed out corruption from all state departments to ensure that they return to normal functionality