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Anti-smuggling blitz intensifies

by Staff reporter
26 May 2022 at 06:23hrs | Views
AN anti-smuggling blitz by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) is set to escalate and cover all borders in the country.

Having started on April 13, "Operation No to Smuggling" has all along been conducted at the Beitbridge border post.

The operation comes at a time when the country is reportedly losing US$1 billion annually through smuggling.

In an interview, ZACC spokesperson Commissioner John Makamure said 20 long-distance buses, one Toyota Quantum and three haulage trucks with illegal imports worth more than ZW$27 million in unpaid duty and fines, have been impounded under the blitz.

"When we impound the vehicles, the motorists have to pay a duty and fines. Duties paid so far amount to ZW$27 million, and fines amount to ZW$30 million so the total is about ZW$57 million," he said.

Comm Makamure said the operation will continue at Beitbridge and is being started at other parts of Zimbabwe.

"We were mainly focusing on Beitbridge, but we are now moving to other border posts as we intensify this operation," he said.

ZACC recently revealed that some of the smuggled goods found in the buses include an assortment of alcoholic drinks, blankets, bags containing new clothes, shoes, washing powder and energy drinks worth hundreds of US dollars.

Fielding questions at a capacity building workshop on Financial Investigations and Asset Recovery last month, ZACC chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo said the country was losing billions annually to smuggling.

"We are investigating the Zimra officials and the law enforcement agents at the borders to find out how those buses are actually bypassing the regulations at the border.

In some of the buses, you find out that it is only the driver and the conductor, there are no passengers in there. It is now the buses being used to carry contraband into South Africa," she said.

Justice Matanda-Moyo said smuggling has become intense in the country.

"Everybody needs to know that they must comply with the rules and we are going to fight smuggling whether it is being committed by high profile or small fish.

Smuggling must simply stop," she said.

In March the National Security Taskforce intercepted 15 buses carrying contraband as security authorities intensified their quest to curb the scourge of smuggling.

Source - The Chronicle