Zacc, fuel firm tussle over impounded truck 

Source: Zacc, fuel firm tussle over impounded truck -Newsday Zimbabwe

The company, which is being represented by Tinashe Zinto of Zinto, Chivandire and Mavhaire Law Chambers, cited Zacc as the respondent in the matter.

A LOCAL company, Onpat Rams Private Limited, has approached the High Court seeking the release of its truck impounded by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) over fuel smuggling allegations.

The company, which is being represented by Tinashe Zinto of Zinto, Chivandire and Mavhaire Law Chambers, cited Zacc as the respondent in the matter.

The company submitted an affidavit deposed by Tredia Njiva seeking the release of the truck and trailer.

It cited provisions of section 58A of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act [Chapter 23:07] “that is release of seized articles after failure to kick-start trial or serve any papers for trial or charge to the person to whom seized articles belong”.

According to court papers, on November 15, 2021, Zacc impounded a horse with a trailer which was suspected to have been used to smuggle fuel into the country.

The company said the horse belonged to it, while the trailer in question had been hired from PT Haulage (Pty) Limited.

“There has been no charge, or summon or court date given to the applicant to appear in court on the reason why the vehicle in question was seized,” the company said.

“Against such disregard of the law, this application is hereby made for the release of the seized horse and trailer, especially the trailer as it was never a part of the seizure affidavit and it belongs to PT Haulage (Pty) Limited and continues to acquire hire charges to the detriment of the applicant.”

The company said its legal practitioners wrote to Zacc, but there was no response.

“It is against this background that our contention is that Zacc is not in compliance with the relevant law and, hence it should be ordered to release the vehicles within 48 hours of this order, as it has no lawful cause to continue retaining the vehicles in question.

“This is a clearly straightforward matter which calls for intervention of this honourable court as the relief sought is procedural, hence we have approached this honourable court on a chamber application,” the company submitted.

However, Zacc, through its executive secretary Sukai Tongogara, opposed the application, saying the applicant did not mention that he approached the police, but still failed to obtain the seized vehicle.

“Further reading of section 58A of the Act explicitly indicates that the person with the right to claim articles from the police is the owner of the articles,” Tongogara submitted.

“The applicant simply alleges he owns the articles, but does not advance adequate proof of ownership to substantiate that he is entitled to the property under seizure.”

She said the applicant is a Zimbabwean registered company, while the trailer belonged to a South African company.

“Furthermore, 58 tanker trucks were also involved in the racket,” Tongogara said.

“Two trucks with South African registration numbers appearing on the list of fuel tankers used in the smuggling of fuel were intercepted during an operation in Beitbridge.

“Subsequent to the seizure of the truck in Beitbridge, the applicant’s cross-border permit was checked against the actual truck particulars, that is the engine and chassis numbers.

“Investigations identified discrepancies between the cross-border permit and the actual physical particulars of the truck which were not matching.”

The matter is pending.