THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has resolved to sell impounded vehicles used to transport smuggled goods in and out of the country as the entity escalates its fight against corruption.
In her revenue performance report for the first quarter ended March 31, 2021, deputy chairperson of the Zimra board Josephine Matambo said they were working with law enforcement agents in a joint operation to normalise the facilitation of trade and travel.
“Restrictions on movement of vehicular and human traffic during the lockdown period created some risks to revenue collection as travellers opted to use undesignated ports of entry going in and out of the country.
“Through joint operations with the security departments and border management committees, efforts are being made. Furthermore, the fight against corruption has been elevated to higher levels as Zimra seeks to seize and auction vehicles that are found transporting smuggled goods,” Matambo said.
This comes as the police have impounded four buses and arrested their crew in addition to confiscating goods worth millions of dollars in Beitbridge that were being smuggled into Zimbabwe from South Africa.
The police went on to warn the public that they face arrest and prosecution if caught smuggling goods into Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwean side of the Beitbridge Border Post remains closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic although South Africa opened its side last month.
Taking advantage of this partial opening, desperate Zimbabweans, who rely on cross-border trade for survival, have resorted to smuggling goods, especially groceries, into Zimbabwe for resale using local buses to carry the contraband.
However, law enforcement agents have also intensified patrols at all border posts which led to the arrests in Beitbridge.
“The ZRP (Zimbabwe Republic Police) is warning bus operators who are using their buses to smuggle goods into the country through Beitbridge Border Post that the law will take its course without fear or favour. The relevant ministry will be engaged to revoke their permits or route authority,” national police spokesperson Paul Nyathi said.
“The following buses were impounded and crew arrested while transporting contraband of smuggled goods into the country on 23/04/21. Sibbs Express AFJ 3555 with trailer AEZ 6946, Mzanzi CB 96 XB with trailer HD 94 XB, Charazim ABQ 8745, and Inter Africa DH 20 HP GP with trailer JV 00 VN GP,” the police said in a Twitter post. – Daily News