A Zimbabwe Revenue Authority official, believed to have been part of a syndicate that processed counterfeit undervalued import documents to smuggle top-of-the-range vehicles and other luxury products, has committed suicide in unclear circumstances.
Aaron Gofo (34), who was based at Beitbridge Border Post, had been suspended from work. Sources said Gofo, who was known for promoting Zim-dancehall artistes, drank poison while seated in his car in Mbare, Harare.
Gofo reportedly told some of his friends that his four colleagues from work had been arrested and that he was wanted by the police in connection with the Zimra scam. Another source said Gofo was having marital problems and this could also have driven him to take his life.
Gofo, who allegedly owned several properties and vehicles in and around the city, took a cellphone from an airtime vendor, which he used to call some of his relatives that he was going to kill himself
Since Monday, condolence messages have been pouring in on social media from friends and relatives. He was buried at Granville Cemetery on Tuesday afternoon. The incident comes after several Zimra officials have either been suspended or arrested in connection with undervaluing import documents at Beitbridge Border Posts.
Recently ,there were reports that more than 400 cars are believed to have been smuggled into the country this year alone by a syndicate of Zimra officials and clearing agents who have been processing counterfeit undervalued import documents to smuggle vehicles and other products. The Herald is reliably informed that five suspects have been arrested in connection with some of the cases after they allegedly cleared 52 cars in Harare using the fake documents.
Sources said following their arrests, the suspects were found in possession of more than 100 fake clearance certificates. Investigations carried out revealed that the suspects managed to acquire registration number plates for at least 52 vehicles and this was discovered by officials at the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR) last week.
It also emerged that for the past few years, several car dealers in and around Harare had their cars seized by Zimra after it was discovered that most of them had fake documentation. According to some of the car dealers, the clearing agents are working with some Zimra officials to smuggle the cars into the country and then impound them for auction. Some of the dealers have since taken Zimra to court in a bid to recover their vehicles.
This comes amid reports that Zimra was losing millions of dollars to dealers who processed counterfeit undervalued import documents to smuggle vehicles and other products into the country. Zimra has been losing millions of dollars to a syndicate of dealers who process counterfeit undervalued import documents to smuggle in vehicles. Several people, some of them former Zimra employees, allegedly act as clearing agents and have been arrested for prejudicing the State of various amounts of money in separate incidents.
Senior Zimra officials who are supposed to be custodians of customs and excise laws, have reportedly used bogus clearing agents to import personal vehicles. Some of the offences were unearthed recently after the owners approached Zimra offices to check the authenticity of documents for their vehicles.