According to a letter written to the embattled RBZ governor Gideon Gono by Imperial Motors, ZIMRA officials also seized records from the dealership that also trades as AJ Motor Center.
“The ZIMRA officials have not given any reason as to why they have placed an embargo on our vehicles but much of their research and audit is focused on vehicles sold to Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)” said Imperial Motors chief executive officer, Ajit Patel in a letter addressed to Gono and in Radio VOP’s possesion.
“We have had many contracts with RBZ and these contracts are based on the nature that Imperial Motors are only facilitating the RBZ purchases of vehicles by carrying out the logistics and documentation for the vehicles.”
The RBZ imported hundreds of cars some of which were used during the currency change programmes.
Some of the cars that still do not have registration books were later donated to government departments.
Movement of Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai alleged some of the cars were used to abduct its supporters by state security agents during the bloody 2008 elections.
In the letter, Patel pleads with Gono to ensure that his company is not inconvenienced by the raids.
“I suggest therefore Honourable Governor that ZIMRA approaches the RBZ directly for any queries in regards to these imports as all documentation has been handed over to your transport team,” Patel said. “This will enable us to concentrate on our core business and be treated with respect and not as mere criminals as our company has acted in good faith to support our government.”
He said his company had been a supplier of vehicles to State House, the army, the police and other government departments.
A ZIMRA spokesman confirmed the raids and warned that the authority would deal with any tax evaders regardless of their status.
Property worth millions belonging to the RBZ has been auctioned by creditors as the central bank is broke.
It is alleged the central bank imported thousands of vehicles in the past five years without paying duty.
Another garage also under investigations is Oasis Motors.
During the raids, Zimra officials were specifically looking for files involving Gono and the RBZ and they were reportedly desperate to nail him down.
“I have gladly given all records as to my understanding that every transaction with the RBZ is and was above board. Zimra has constantly been on a witch-hunt of some sorts.
“For the record, we wish to convey to you that Zimra has not given us any reason for the placement of the embargo even though we have given all evidence of meeting all requirements. I suggest therefore honourable governor that Zimra approaches RBZ directly for any queries in regards to these imports,” read Patel’s letter.
Gono’s mobile phone was switched off Saturday but one of his senior employees confirmed the developments.
“It is true but we are yet to receive formal complaints from Zimra but the affected car sales companies have informed us. This investigation is surprising but expected because there are many people working to destroy the RBZ. Surely we are all working for the same country to enhance the welfare of Zimbabweans. They mustn’t therefore be room for skinning mosquitoes, digging in the past for any such witch-hunting enterprises that are non-productive.
“We should be thinking about how to raise the general levels of production in the economy where we should be fighting to meet critical requirements such as meaningful payments for our civil servants, upgrading our medical and health facilities as opposed to smoking each other to settle selfish personal goals.
“It’s a political investigation by both Zanu (PF) and MDC ministers who are sworn enemies of the governor. Certain Zanu (PF) ministers are baying for the governor’s blood because he has consistently opposed some of their failed polices like the indigenizstion act and the lack or production on farms. We know them and they are using known MDC ministers to nail down Dr Gono,” said the top RBZ official.
Zimra spokesperson Robson Mhandu was not forthcoming when contacted for comment on the issue. “As Zimra we raid different companies and individuals from time to time and it is normal for us to do that. The RBZ issue has not come to my desk yet if it really exists,” said Mhandu.