Over 250 vehicles seized in civil servants’ tax rebate scam

23 May, 2024 - 08:05 0 Views
Over 250 vehicles seized in civil servants’ tax rebate scam Commissioner Gabriel Chaibva

The Sunday News

Harare Bureau

A JOINT operation by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has led to the recovery of 250 vehicles illegally imported through the abuse of tax rebates introduced for civil servants in 2019.

The civil servants motor vehicle rebate scheme was an incentive introduced by the Government to allow civil servants with 10 or more years of service, to import motor vehicles duty-free.

Beneficiaries under the duty-free scheme should not, before a period of five years from the date of importation of a motor vehicle, sell, offer or display for sale, lease or hire the motor vehicle to any other person in respect of which a rebate of duty on such motor vehicle was granted, without the prior written permission of Zimra.

Anyone selling the vehicle, before the five years are up, will have to pay Zimra the residual duty, including interest on the assessed amount.

It has emerged that many car dealers in Harare were now importing vehicles duty-free in the name of civil servants, who would, in turn, get a payment for allowing their names to be used to evade customs duty.

This fraudulent scheme has prejudiced the State of millions of dollars in revenue, as people who should pay duty were now importing cars for free.

In some cases, the civil servants imported vehicles for relatives and other third parties, who then paid “tokens of appreciation”, usually ranging between US$700 and US$1 500, depending on the type of vehicle.

Under the fraudulent scheme, the vehicle remains registered in the names of the civil servants whose particulars are used to import the vehicles, which end up being driven by others.

Speaking during an inter-agency breakfast meeting hosted by ZACC in partnership with Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) in Harare yesterday, ZACC Commissioner, Mr Gabriel Chaibva, said investigations were ongoing to identify and prosecute those involved in the scam.

“Following a report from the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion about the rampant abuse of the scheme, ZACC and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority jointly investigated the Civil Servants Motor Vehicle Rebate Scheme.

“Although the investigation is ongoing, we have already recovered over 250 vehicles,” he said.

Commissioner Chaibva attributed these successes to collaboration, adding that all stakeholders must join forces to curb corruption at all levels.

“To date the Commission has several Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with many of its stakeholders. These MOUs are aimed at enhancing collaboration.

“Guided by the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS), interagency collaboration and coordination are imperative for achieving our goals.

“We are obligated to work together to produce the desired results for our nation. Our ultimate goal is to serve the citizens.

“They are the ones who bear the brunt of the effects of corruption as it impacts all aspects of their lives, including access to food, health care, education etc,” said Commissioner Chaibva.

While challenges persisted, successes had been achieved through collaborative efforts in the fight against corruption.

These successes demonstrated the power of unity and the potential that existed when agencies worked together towards a common goal.

The power of coordinated action, Commissioner Chaibva said, could be seen in how they jointly handled corruption cases within the Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS).

“In the past year, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and the Zimbabwe Republic Police conducted joint investigations into PSMAS corruption. This collaboration led to the arrest of six members of the executive management and 38 doctors.”

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