A ZIMBABWEAN based in South Africa has approached the courts seeking the release of his vehicle impounded by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) on allegations that it had a fake Temporary Import Permit (TIP).
BY SILAS NKALA
Nkululeko Sibanda filed a court application at the Bulawayo High Court on May 8, citing the Beitbridge regional manager and Zimra as first and second respondents respectively.
In his founding affidavit, Sibanda submitted that in April last year he applied for a TIP at Beitbridge Border Post for his motor vehicle, a South African registered Ford Ranger 200 model registration number CF 86TP GP. “Upon payment of the required statutory fees, I was given the TIP and went to my intended destination. The TIP that I was furnished with has respondent’ stamps and I did not suspect anything was amiss,” he submitted.
“I was involved in an accident on May 1 2016 on my way to Bulawayo and the motor vehicle had to be taken for panel beating. Sometime in August 2016 I approached the respondents (Zimra) at Beitbridge Border Post and had the TIP extended. The extension was done by the respondents through its officials.”
Sibanda indicated that sometime on October 22 2016, while going back to SA he was told at Beitbridge that his TIP was fake.
“This came as a shock because the respondent had issued me with the TIP. The TIP had respondent’ stamp on it and further I was given an extension by the respondents on that same TIP,” he submitted.
“I was arrested for contravening section 174 (1) ( c) of the Customs and Excise Act Chapter 23:02 false representation with a fake temporary import permit. On January 10 2017, I was taken to Beitbridge magistrate court and prosecution was declined on the basis that there is no evidence that I knew that my TIP was fake.”
Sibanda said the court outcome was served to Zimra which responded through the regional manager demanding the payment of a fine of $2 000, carbon tax of $15, insurance of $30 a further fine of $400 for not acquiring TIP and payment of all storage charges amounting to $1 700.
“The said fines in my humbled view are exorbitant and wrongful. The reason why respondent’s took me to Beitbridge magistrate Court was to secure a conviction from a competent court. The basis of paying a fine was a contravention of the same section that the State declined to prosecute for lack of evidence. The respondents have no basis whatsoever of holding onto my vehicle or demand further payment from me,” he submitted.
Sibanda said he has made several requests for the release of the car but have been denied access to it. He prayed for an order compelling Zimra to release his car and the declaration of its impounding and fines imposed on him as unlawful. Zimra is yet to respond to the application.