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9 tankers intercepted smuggling fuel worth R3 million

by Staff reporter
13 Nov 2020 at 05:39hrs | Views
AUTHORITIES at Beitbridge Border Post are tightening screws on the movement of commercial cargo following the interception of nine tankers last week carrying fuel worth nearly R3 million that was being smuggled from South Africa.

The state stood to lose import duty revenue.

Sources close to the case said the nine tankers arrived from South Africa without any clearance documents for carrying out such processes as required by law.

Ideally, all goods entering the country are subject to a pre-clearance process which involves the payments of levies and requisite import prior to their arrival at the port of entry.

However, in this case, border authorities say tankers carrying an average of 40 000 litres of fuel arrived without any paperwork.

"They were picked by alert security teams which enlisted the services of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra). Follow up investigations revealed that the owners (names withheld pending more investigations) had not declared anything and resultantly the vehicles have been seized with their contents," said a border official.

The source said three tankers with over 120 000 litres of diesel were destined for Bulawayo.

Six others with over 240 000 litres of unleaded petrol were headed for a dealer in Harare.

"We are not taking any chances in terms of curbing intrusive leakages," said the border official.

Zimra's spokesperson, Mr Francis Chimanda could not be reached for comment and the local (Beitbridge) manager Mr innocent Chikuni was also not reachable.

The police officer commanding Beitbridge, Chief Superintendent Tichaona Nyongo said the matter was still being handled at Zimra in line with relevant customs laws.

Chronicle understands that no arrests have been made and that most cases of seizures are dealt with by Zimra. So far the tankers are still parked within the commercial yard pending further management of the case.

The smuggling of fuel is rampant through the country's ports of entry. It is also alleged that in most cases syndicates make false declarations claiming they are shipping in paraffin, bulk cooking oil or soya oil to evade paying import duty.

At the moment, two Zimbabweans, Owen Muterede (38) and Huggins Nyamutamba (43) are set to be tried on December 8 at the Harrismith Regional Court, Free State province of South Africa for stealing 40 000 litres of fuel worth R3 million.

The two have been languishing in remand prison since their arrest on December 29, 2019.

Their trial has had too many false starts since the beginning of the year with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) failing to get the services of a Shona interpreter.

Source - chroncile

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