HARARE – Radio and TV personality Tichafa Matambanadzo — popularly known as Tich Mataz — was yesterday convicted of import duty evasion and smuggling clothes.
He was fined $300 or serve two months in prison.
The 48-year-old was facing charges of contravening Section 182 of the Excise and Control Act after he under-declared suits and shoes at the Harare International Airport after importing them from China.
Magistrate Lazini Ncube also ordered him to pay the $538 customs duty and penalties before paying the fine.
His defence was that Zimra bungled in calculating his duty bill, arguing the tax collector included his personal worn suits.
“I had clothes with me when I left for China and Zimra may have miscounted.
“I was surprised to hear the Zimra official saying I falsely declared my goods because I filled in the declaration form under his supervision. I also had clothes that I wore in China,” Matambanadzo testified.
Prosecutor Fransisca Mukumbiri maintained that Matambanadzo’s conduct on the day was consistent with attempts to evade duty payment.
“When you arrived at the airport you were aware that you had goods to declare but proceeded through the Green Route.
“You then filled declaration forms but falsely entered that you had five suits instead of 10 and four pairs of shoes instead of seven,” Mukumbiri argued.
“You did not follow what the Zimra official had instructed and went to the manager’s office to negotiate but, unfortunately for you, he insisted that you must follow procedure and pay duty.”
However, Matambanadzo refuted the claims and said he went to the manager’s office to complain because he had been made to wait for two hours since Zimra machines were down.
Mukumbiri emphasised that Zimra would not have charged duty on used clothes and queried why Matambanadzo had failed to identify the “fictitious” Zimra official he claimed to have dismissed him.