Tuesday, 14 July 2020

SMUGGLERS ABANDON MBANJE, FLEES INTO SA

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Police in Beitbridge have recovered nearly 12kg of mbanje from three men along the Limpopo River who had attempted to smuggle the dangerous drug into South Africa, as cases of smuggling continue to rise along the border.

The three suspects escaped into the neighbouring country after being confronted by police officers who were on patrol. Police then recovered the mbanje, which was stashed in two wooden drawers and a cardboard box.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed and warned smugglers that the police would remain firm on the ground to thwart such activities. 

“About 11 895 kilogrammes of dagga were recovered in Beitbridge after a police patrol team along Limpopo River intercepted three men carrying two wooden drawers and a wrapped cardboard box.

“The trio fled into SA side after the police informed them that they were under arrest for violating Covid-19 regulations. The parcel was opened and dagga destined for South Africa was found,” he said.

He said investigations were still in progress and they were working with their counterparts in South Africa to locate the suspects.

Asst-Comm Nyathi said last Tuesday, they arrested 60 border jumpers in the Spillway area along Limpopo River, Beitbridge who had illegally crossed into the country. 

He urged members of the public to abide by the laws of the country and cross using designated entry and exit points.

Last Monday evening, Beitbridge police arrested 35 people carrying an assortment of goods worth thousands of dollars, which they had smuggled into the country through an illegal crossing point located less than 1km from the main port of entry.

The gang was arrested as the police intensify efforts to reduce intrusive leakages along Zimbabwe’s border with South Africa.

It is reported that the suspects, who have since been charged with smuggling were carrying electrical gadgets including fridges, 275 litres of petrol, groceries and drums among other things.

The police officer commanding Beitbridge, Chief Superintendent Tichaona Nyongo said deployments had been made to make sure that criminal activities were dealt with accordingly along the river.

Zimbabwean and South African security agencies have since the start of the lockdown in April, been intensifying patrols to minimise the illegal movement of both people and goods. This is done to reduce the rate of the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic in the two neighbouring countries. 

The South Africans are intercepting mainly cigarettes, while their Zimbabwean counterparts are arresting people with an assortment groceries and electrical gadgets. Presently, the border is closed to non-essential human traffic and the development has led to an upsurge in smuggling and border jumping cases.

A few days ago, security officials in Beitbridge intercepted six people who had smuggled goods worth R1.3 million and attracting an estimated import duty of $4 million. The suspects had declared that they were shipping maize meal and diapers though it turned out they were transporting groceries from South Africa to Harare.

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority’s (ZIMRA) regional manager for Beitbridge, Mr Innocent Chikuni told the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube that they had intercepted 21 commercial trucks smuggling into the country an assortment of goods worth millions of dollars. Herald

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