Senior Court Reporter
Self-styled Johane Masowe eChishanu apostolic church prophet and leader Lazarus Simbarashe Nengomasha, known as Madzibaba Simba, was yesterday fined $200 000 (or six months) after being convicted of trying to smuggle more than US$10 000 to South Africa through the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in 2020.
He also sees his US$8 890 seized as being over the legal limit of US$2000 permitted to travellers being forfeited to the State.
Madzibaba Simba was tried with former police chief inspector Pedzisai Hali on smuggling charges before regional magistrate Mrs Vongai Guwuriro who fined them each $200 000 and ordered the US$8 890 to be forfeited to the State. Hali is already in jail serving an effective 14 months after being previously found guilty of criminal abuse of office for his part in the smuggling attempt.
Madzibaba Simba and Hali were convicted of smuggling after full trial.
On November 6, 2020 at around 6am Madzibaba Simba and Hali went to RGM International Airport where Simba was to fly to South Africa.
Hali produced his airport pass to appear as if he was escorting Madzibaba Simba as a VIP. An alert officer of the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe stopped the two and asked Madzibaba Simba to produce his diplomatic passport.
As he did not have one the official advised them to use the ordinary exit, which required them to declare their valuables.
It was then discovered that Madzibaba Simba had US$10 890 plus R2 920, which he wanted to smuggle to South Africa. The money was then seized by Zimra leaving him with US$2 000, the maximum a traveller is allowed to take out of the country in cash. Madzibaba Simba and Hali were arrested and taken to court charged with smuggling.
Hali is also serving a effective 14-month-jail term after he was convicted of criminal abuse of office for trying to assist Simba get through the airport without going through the currency and other checks.
He was initially jailed for 24 months when he appeared before magistrate Mr Ngoni Nduna, who set aside 10 months of the sentence on condition that he will not commit a similar offence within the next five years