The trial of a man who pretended to be a Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) employee to defraud two unsuspecting car dealers of their US$20 000 in a botched vehicle regularisation deal kicked off on Friday, with him denying the charges.
Timothy Muyambo (50) allegedly fraudulently cleared the two businessman’s vehicles.
Complainants in the matter are Mr Afareck Matongo, who owns Buycar (Pvt) Limited, and Mr Chapman Paso, who is also into car dealing.
In his defence, Muyambo denied making a representation to Mr Matongo that he had the capacity to regularise the vehicles and that he once worked with Zimra officials to clear blacklisted vehicles.
He also stated that he never intentionally and unlawfully received the money from Mr Matongo for facilitating the regularisation of his vehicles.
Allegations are that sometime in 2018, Mr Matongo imported two Toyota Hilux twin-cabs, a single cab and a Fortuner, using various clearing agents.
It is the State’s case that in November last year, Zimra placed an advert in the press listing a number of vehicles that were said to have been smuggled into the country, adding that those in possession of them should approach the authority for verification.
The court heard that Mr Matongo approached his friend Mr Simbai Murambiwa to enquire how he could regularize his car’s papers and was introduced to Muyambo who claimed to have the capacity to quicken the process of paying duty and penalties.
The court heard that on November 21 last year, Mr Matongo met Muyambo in Harare and pledged to assist in the event that he paid US$10 000 for his services, including customs duty and penalties.
Mr Matongo allegedly paid the money and handed Muyambo some vehicle documents. The court heard that Muyambo called Mr Matongo telling him that there was a shortfall of US$4 500 plus US$5 000 for his commission.
Mr Matongo is said to have paid all the money to Muyambo, who then vanished without clearing the cars.
Mr Matongo lost US$15 000 in the process.