George Maponga Masvingo Bureau
A fuel dealer in Chiredzi was recently busted by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA), which impounded two trucks laden with over 46 000 litres of petrol believed to have been smuggled through Beitbridge Border Post.
Mr Trinity Mutsetse, owner of fuel retailing company Inotrade Investments, who runs fuel service stations in Chiredzi and Mashava, had the trucks seized from his premises in the light industrial area in the sugar cane growing town.
One of seized trucks belonged to Mr Mutsetse, while the other is registered in South African and owned by Infinite Transport.
Infinite has been under the microscope over allegations of fuel smuggling that saw ZIMRA, a few years back, busting a Bulawayo-based fuel company, Nemo Petroleum, over undeclared fuel.
Sources said the Infinite Transport fuel tanker laden with 44 950 litres of petrol was smuggled via Beitbridge Border Post sometime mid last month.
It is believed the tanker then headed to Chiredzi with the smuggled fuel and alert ZIMRA officers in the town pounced on Mr Mutsetse’s premises where they seized it and the other one belonging to Inotrade.
The driver of the Infinite tanker has since been hauled before the courts and was fined, with ZIMRA notifying him through his attorneys that both the tanker and the fuel had been forfeited to the State.
Mr Mutsetse is alleging that out of the seized fuel, only around 4 000 litres belonged to Infinite and, therefore, should be returned to him together with his impounded truck.
ZIMRA acting regional manager for region 3 (Customs and Exercise) Mrs Tendai Muchuchuti, in a letter to Mr Mutsetse dated 28 June, a copy which is in The Herald’s possession, indicated that the matter was still under investigation.
“I acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 20 June 2022 concerning the above matter (Notice of Seizure Number 018390L of 15 June 2022; 46 561L of petrol; Inotrade Investments C/O Trinity Mutsetse),” she said.
“Please, be advised that the matter is still receiving attention and you will be notified once a determination is made.”
Mr Mutsetse told The Herald that he was unaware that the fuel seized from his premises was smuggled.
He further said the Infinite Transport tanker had only delivered 4 000 litres of petrol for storage at his premises in Chiredzi after running out of space.
Inotrade is one of the 59 companies with a fuel procurement licence from the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority.