The Criminal Investigations Department has unearthed a car smuggling racket at Central Vehicle Registry (CVR), where database officers would register smuggled vehicles using particulars of registered ones.
CID officers believe a number of vehicles on the country’s roads could have been smuggled using the same method, although investigations have so far led to the discovery of 10 vehicles, including a BMW that was registered as a haulage truck and a Toyota Land Cruiser that was registered as a kombi.
A Southern Region Trading Company official who was attached to the CVR has since gone into hiding.
Southern Region Trading is currently managing the CVR database.
The suspect, Portia Chirara (36) of Budiriro 5, is believed to have connived with several criminal elements to fraudulently register vehicles into the CVR Database.
Chirara is wanted by CID in connection with the 10 smuggled vehicles.
CID acting spokesperson Detective Assistant Inspector Pretty Rushwaya confirmed the investigation, saying Chirara was wanted for fraud involving $53 000 in CVR prejudice.
“During the period extending from January to February 2017, the suspect, who is an employee of Southern Region Trading Company and attached to the Central Vehicle Registry fraudulently registered 10 smuggled motor vehicles at Central Vehicle Registry.
“She substituted already registered motor vehicles with particulars of smuggled motor vehicles,” she said.
The offence was discovered following investigations and a report was made to the police.
“When the suspect learnt that investigations were being instituted, she resigned from work and was never seen again. The complainant (CVR) suffered an actual prejudice of $53 000,” Detective Asst Insp Rushwaya said.
Particulars for a Scania horse were used for a smuggled Isuzu KB, while an international truck’s registration was used for a smuggled BMW 3 series.
Other stolen particulars were that of a Mazda Tribute (Mercedes Benz), Nissan Panel Van (Toyota Dyna), Toyota Sienta (Nissan Hardbody), Toyota Ranch (Isuzu KB), Toyota Hiace micro bus (Toyota Land Cruiser), a Toyota (Mercedes Benz), Nissan Navara (Nissan Vannette) and an Opel Corsa (Nissan Cabster).
Police have widened their investigations on the case and have since launched a manhunt for Chirara.
“The suspect’s whereabouts are currently not known.
“The police are appealing to anyone with information to contact CID Vehicle Theft Squad on (04) 665524 or Detective Assistant Inspector Mhondiwa on 0772886289 or 0713556614, any nearest police station or National Complaints Desk on (04) 703631,” she said.
In November last year, a Zimbabwean man and four South Africans were arrested at Victoria Falls Border Post for allegedly trying to smuggle into Zambia three Toyota Fortuner SUVs and two Land Rover vehicles worth thousands of dollars.
Police then intensified border patrols to curb smuggling.
The five were arrested after they attempted to smuggle the vehicles into Zambia using fake registration books.
A number of criminals were nabbed in recent years after they allegedly stole vehicles, especially SUVs.
They would then attempt to smuggle the vehicles into Mozambique through Sango Border Post in Chiredzi. Subcribe to the zimborderguide for up-to-date bordernews and updates click here