Fungai Lupande Court Reporter
Veteran radio personality Tichafa Augustine Matambanadzo, popularly known as Tich Mataz, who is accused of trying to smuggle clothes and shoes from China has a case to answer, the court ruled yesterday. Harare magistrate Mr Lazini Ncube dismissed Matambanadzo’s application for discharge at the close of the State’s case. In his ruling, Mr Ncube said the State managed to prove a prima facie case against him.
“It is not in dispute that the accused arrived at the International Airport aboard Kenya Airways from China,” said Mr Ncube. “It is again not in dispute that he used the green route instead of the red route. He declared that he had five suits, yet 10 suits were found during a physical search.
“Accused was invited to cubicle four to pay duty and he asked to see the supervisor. The supervisor advised him to pay the duty. The accused was aware that he was supposed to pay duty, but he went away. He has to explain these issues in his defence case.”
The matter was adjourned to Friday for him to mount his defence. In his application for discharge, Matambanadzo told the court that he was allowed to leave by a Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (zimra) official after their machines developed a mechanical fault.
Matambanadzo, who is a director at ZIFM radio, is facing charges of contravening the Customs and Exercise Act. He is represented by Mr Godfrey Makwaye. The prosecutor, Mrs Francesca Mukumbiri, alleged that on January 7 this year, Matambanadzo arrived at Harare International Airport aboard Kenya Airways from China.
After picking his boxes from the carousel, he allegedly went through the green route, but was stopped by zimra’s Patrick Mukanganwi, who asked him to go through the red route.
The court heard that Matambanadzo was handed over to Patrick Mhanda, who was manning cubicle No.3 of the red route, who asked him to complete a declaration form and he complied.
It is alleged that Mhanda went through Matambanadzo’s stuff and noticed that he had several suits, shirts, track bottoms and shoes. Mhanda worked duty for the clothes and Matambanadzo was supposed to pay $538,75. It is alleged that Mhanda went into the next cubicle to capture the information into the system, but Matambanadzo sneaked out.