Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
Two Malawian missionaries were yesterday fined $2 000 each for attempting to smuggle two vehicles worth R1,070 million from South Africa to their home country through Zimbabwe.
Ahamad Edie (37) of 23 Machinjiri, Blantyre and Bender Mark Allen (33), of 23 Lumbasi, Lilongwe were arrested after producing forged documents indicating that the vehicles were on a temporary import facility, yet they were taking the vehicles to their country for good.
They were both convicted on their own plea of guilty when they appeared before Beitbridge magistrate Mr Godswill Mavenge. Edie and Allen were slapped with the fine, and Mr Mavenge also ruled that the vehicles be released to the Malawi Church of Christ.
The prosecutor Mr Pernson Chekeya told the court that in December 2012, the duo bought two Toyota Land Cruisers in South Africa on behalf of their church for importation to Malawi.
He said thereafter they de-registered the motor vehicles in South Africa and later obtained police clearance documents with the view of exporting the two cars to Malawi on January 22 this year.
They then arrived at Beitbridge Border Post on the following day where they connived to evade Zimbabwe’s customs laws.
Edie allegedly forged an affidavit purporting to authorise Allen to drive one of the Toyota Land Cruisers to their country through Zimbabwe.
Mr Chekeya said the two went further to make a false declaration to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority that they were temporarily importing the cars to Blantyre.
They managed to get a Temporary Import Permit and drove the vehicles out of the border post.
They were intercepted by alert police detectives in the border town.
The police detectives requested to see their travel and customs documents, resulting in the discovery of the offence.
Edie and Allen were in turn arrested and the two Toyota Land Cruisers were seized by Zimra.