Dar probing vehicle document theft ring investigates Mr Mwaseba said the TRA has also discovered that some of the motor vehicles sold in the market use falsified documents from government institutions, NGOs and even TRA itself. By MIKE MANDE ( THE EAST AFRICAN Posted Sunday, October 5 2008 at 09:55 Tanzania is investigating a suspected international theft syndicate and its local accomplices over missing motor vehicle registration cards from the Tanzania Revenue Authority offices. Related Stories Dar suspends 22 bonded warehouses The police and TRA investigation officers are questioning a number of people said to have knowledge of the theft of the cards, whose value has not yet been established. The group is said to have made away with blank motor vehicle registrations cards that were later sold through an underground network controlled by its local accomplices. Investigations by The EastAfrican have revealed that the cards are later used to register stolen cars entering the country from South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia and the United Kingdom. The EastAfrican investigation shows that Tanzania revenue officers and information technology-savvy locals have been conscripted into the racket. Tanzanian detectives are now combing the TRA databases for information in a bid to identify and prove criminal offences by the syndicates responsible for the theft, "rebirthing" and onselling of vehicles. Director of Finance at TRA Patrick Mwangunga told The EastAfrican last week that they had reported the theft to the police, who are now investigating that manner. Mr Mwangunga said that 15 motor vehicle registration cards marked TFN 196 were reported missing from Ilala motor vehicles registration office on September 18 this year after being collected from the TRA head office. "TRA and police have begun an investigation into the involvement of TRA officials and others in the stolen motor vehicles registration cards," he said. Tanzania Revenue Authority is responsible for the registration of vehicles in the country. The authority has procedures in place to prevent stolen cars from being registered and resold. The serial numbers of the missing cards have been identified as 01226486, 01226487, 01226488, 01226489 and 01226490. Others are 01226491, 01226492, 01226493, 01226494, 01226495, 01226496, 01226497, 01226498, 01226499 and 01226500. TRA Commissioner for Tax Investigations Lusekelo Mwaseba, told The EastAfrican that the authority has not yet established the value of the stolen cards but suspect they may have been used to register either motor vehicles, motorcycles or scooters. Mr Mwaseba said the TRA has also discovered that some of the motor vehicles sold in the market use falsified documents from government institutions, NGOs and even TRA itself. Related Stories Dar suspends 22 bonded warehouses According to Mr Mwaseba, investigations conducted between July 2006 to December 2007 revealed numerous cases of false number plates. "Some agencies that enjoy tax exemptions are also misusing the facility by using forged documents to sell the vehicles without paying all the relevant duties," he said. Mr Mwaseba said all vehicle buyers must have the relevant documents confirmed as valid by TRA before concluding any such transaction to avoid embarrassment, loss of money and property. Two weeks ago, the Tanzania government suspended 22 international car makers and local motor vehicle dealers from operating bonded warehouses in the country as investigations continue into a series of excise frauds within the authority. The suspended operators include Incar Tanzania Ltd, the authorised dealer for Iveco Trucks from Italy, which is now the leading automotive distributing company in the region, and Scania Tanzania Ltd, a subsidiary of Scania of Sweden. Iveco is known to have supplied the Tanzania People's Defence Forces with an undisclosed number of trucks and buses last year. In the late 1990s, the government and Scania CV AB of Sweden established a joint venture, the Tanzania Automobile Manufacturing Company. The government's share was 90 per cent versus Scania's 10per cent. In the current budget, Tanzania introduced annual registration fees for motor vehicles depending on the engine capacity rates. Motor vehicles or cycles not exceeding 500cc are charged $30 (Tsh30,000) while motor vehicles or motorcycles with engines exceeding 501cc but not exceeding 1500cc are charged $50 (Tsh50,000). Vehicles with engine capacity exceeding 1501cc but not exceeding 2500cc are charged $100 (Tsh100,000); while those with engine capacity rate exceeding 2501cc but not exceeding 5000cc are charged $150 (Tsh150,000) annually. Motor vehicles whose engine capacity exceeds 5000cc are charged $150 (Tsh150,000) while tractors used for agricultural purposes are exempted from the fee.