Published On: Thu, Oct 15th, 2015

Chinese businessman fleeced by corrupt ZIMRA officer

Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) has dragged its top officer to court for allegedly swindling a Chinese business man of $100 000 as bribe to release confiscated goods.

Licious Kawondera Charakupa, 48, who is the supervisor in ZIMRA enforcement section, was expected back in court Thursday for bail ruling purposes.

He was charged with criminal abuse of office when he appeared before magistrate Tendai Mahwe Wednesday. Prosecutors alleged that Charakupa received information to the effect that Froriscent Enterprises, a Chinese company was undervaluing imported goods.

Charakupa then teamed up with his subordinate, Tapfumaneyi Chipunza and one Gilbert Mawisire, not a ZIMRA employee, and raided the company.

The court heard the trio then confiscated four laptops and company files which they took to their offices. On the same day, the company’s general manager, Honquan Ding, who does not speak English, advised his friend Xinfeng Li about the issue.

The state alleged that Li already knew Charakupa. Li then approached Charakupa who promised to assist after going through the company’s files. After a few days, Charakupa then called Li and proposed that they meet at Avondale shopping centre.

He then purported that the tax which was due to be paid by the company ranged between $2 million and $3, 5 million. He promised to reduce the price after negotiating with his superiors. Li then requested to meet the superiors.

Charakupa then brought a certain unidentified woman and they held a meeting at Cresta Lodge in Msasa. The two demanded $200 000 to close the case but after negotiations they settled for $100 000.

On September 1, Li left for China after advising Ding to communicate with Charakupa through one of his employees, Shengzhi Lei who was fluent in English.

On the same day, Charakupa communicated with Lei and they met at Avondale shopping centre where he was given $100 000. Charakupa returned the laptops the following day accompanied by a tax bill of S$9 609.

The matter came into light after Zimra approached the company on September 9 enquiring about the matter.

Ding then confirmed having been raided by Charakupa and disclosed what had transpired. The matter was then reported leading to the arrest of Charakupa.