THREE Harare businessmen last week appeared before Victoria Falls magistrate Sharon Rosemani facing charges of smuggling after a failed bid to bribe a police officer with $300 to help them evade duty.
Tariro John Mundozo (27), Augustine Chashaya (32) and Ronald Chashaya, all of Mbare, pleaded not guilty to smuggling last Thursday.
Rosemani remanded the three in custody to today for a bail hearing.
Prosecutor Listen Nare told the court that on July 26 at around 11am, the three arrived at the Victoria Falls border from Zambia driving a truck with the intention of smuggling some goods into the country as they did not have sufficient cash to pay duty.
It was alleged that they came across a Constable Nyarungwe of the Zimbabwe Republic Police in Victoria Falls who offered to assist them evade paying duty.
The cop allegedly demanded a $300 bribe and then told them to wait until around midnight as it was difficult to smuggle anything during daytime.
At around 9pm, Nyarungwe told the three to drive through the entrance gate and assured them that all was clear.
However, Mundonzo, who was driving the truck, was stopped by a Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) officer who requested to conduct a physical check of the truck.
The three said their truck was empty and they also did not have the keys to unlock the back of the truck.
The Zimra officer immediately called for back-up and the three were asked to alight and the back of the truck was forced opened.
Zimra officers found 17 drums of second-hand clothing, six drums of assorted goods, four boxes of new clothing, 27 bags of second-hand clothing, three wheel chairs, three jersey knitting machines, four grass cutting machines, a Samsung TV, refrigerator, a bed and leather sofas, among other things.
The goods would have prejudiced Zimra of $12 000 in unpaid duty.