HARARE – Tichafa Matambanadzo’s tax evasion case rages on with a Zimra official testifying yesterday that the prominent radio personality — popularly known as Tich Mataz —under-declared his merchandise upon entry at the Harare International Airport from China.
Matambanadzo is standing trial for contravening Section 182 of the Excise and Control Act.
He appeared before Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube this week for commencement of trial on smuggling charges.
The Zimra official, Munyaradzi Mhanda, attested that 48-year-old Matambanadzo was brought to his offices after it was discovered that he had declared lesser goods than he was actually carrying.
“He had declared that he had five pairs of shoes instead of seven and five suits instead of 10. When he was brought to me, our machines were slow and I moved to another office and advised him to follow after me with his luggage so that I could calculate his duty,” Mhanda told the court.
“He did not come to that office and when I returned to check on him, he was gone. We had to file a police report.”
Matambanadzo refuted allegations of smuggling and claimed that he was attended to by an unidentified female official after Mhanda left.
He claimed the Zimra official gave him the green light to leave because their machines were down.
Mhanda disputed that claim and said the alleged female official could have informed him about the development on the day.
The “Midas Touch”, as he is also known, will file his application for discharge at the close of the State’s case today.
Magistrate Ncube will hand down the judgment tomorrow.
The complainant is Zimra, Harare International Airport (HIA) branch, represented by Mhanda.
The court heard that at around 10am on January 7 this year, the prominent Master of Ceremonies and DJ-cum-businessman arrived at HIA aboard Kenya Airways from China.
He allegedly moved his luggage from the carousel to the Green Route and was stopped by Patrick Mukangamwi, who asked him to go through the Red Route.
The Green Route is used by travellers who are not carrying any dutiable or restricted goods, meaning goods that are not covered by the traveller’s and tourist rebates.
If the goods being carried by a traveller do not qualify under the rebates, then the traveller should use the Red Route.
Matambanadzo was handed over to Mhanda before he filled-in a declaration form.
It was alleged that Mhanda went through Matambanadzo’s stuff and realised that he had several suits, shoes and track bottoms whose duty was not paid for.
The court heard that Mhanda calculated the duty for the respective items and it came to $538.
When Mhanda went to capture the information in their system, Matambanadzo allegedly made off without paying the duty.
“By so doing the accused person deprived Zimra Harare Airport of $538,75 revenue and had no right to act in that manner,” the State outline said.