A sealing officer with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) stationed at Beitbridge Border Post will live to regret the day he duty-freely released a Volvo truck laden with alcoholic drinks worth US$187 257, 51 as the offense has costed him a 36-month jail term.

Appearing before Beitbridge Resident Magistrate Takudzwa Gwazemba this week, Michael Mutanga was charged and convicted for abuse of office after he cleared the Volvo haulage truck using fraudulent papers.

As Two Nations reported, Magistrate Gwazemba suspended six months of the sentence for five years.

Mutanga who was represented by Julius Maphosa of Masawi and Partners pleaded not guilty to the offence.

He argued that he was not on duty on the day the offence was committed. However, three witnesses including a supervisor, his colleague who was also on duty and a security guard who stopped the vehicle at the exit gate said the accused person was on duty, Two Nations reported.

Prosecuting, Ronald Mugwagwa told the court that on November 8, 2020, Mutanga was deployed at ZIMRA Imports Last man check point at around 4:20am.

Mugwagwa further said that he Volvo towing two trailers laden with various types of alcohol approached the check point and the driver of the truck approached the accused with the customs clearance papers.

It is reported that Mutanga deliberately failed to book the vehicle in the ZIMRA check point bond register but instead went on to sign in the security guard register, authorizing the release of the goods and vehicle without going through due processes which was contrary to his duties.

The court also heard that it was not Mutanga’s duty to validate dispatch of cargo and release vehicles at the check point. Instead, that was the duty of a revenue officer.

An alert security guard is said to have stopped the driver of the truck as it proceeded towards the main exit gate.

The security guard reportedly queried the documents which Mutanga had used to authorise the passage of the vehicle.

Subsequently, a police report was made, leading to Mutanga’s arrest.