A HARARE trio accused of leading a cartel that smuggles vehicles into the country was on Friday granted bail.
The three — Brian Matongo (41), Tinashe Kanda(41) and Elvis Jieman (38) — appeared before magistrate Donald Ndirowei who released them on US$1000 bail each.
They had spent almost a week in custody.
Allegations are that sometime in 2018, the trio connived with other officials from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA), Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA), Central Vehicle Registration (CVR) as well as the Office of the President and Cabinet and fraudulently registered smuggled vehicles into the systems of the relevant institutions.
On December 12, 2017, Matongo, acting in connivance with Wisdom Ndebele, who is still at large, smuggled a Toyota Fortuner, with Chassis number AHTJA3GSX00232098, from South Africa into Zimbabwe.
In a bid to benefit from Zimra, Zinara and CVR exemptions of tax, licences and toll fees, the two connived with Kanda, who then supplied a vehicle registration book and number plate AFC 0405 which belongs to the Office of the President and Cabinet.
Subsequently, Jieman evaded payment of tax, vehicle licence fees as well as toll fees for a period extending from December 2018 to August 2023.
The offence came to light when the Office of the President and Cabinet witnessed an upsurge in the numbers of their exempted registration plates, which were circulating on the market.
They reported the matter to police for further investigations, which led to the recovery of the vehicles and the registration plates, which are currently held in police custody as exhibits.