Sunday, 11 July 2021

TWO ZIMBAS NABBED WITH R3M WORTH OF CIGARETTES


SOUTH African police have arrested two suspected Zimbabweans caught with R3 million worth of Remington Gold cigarettes they were smuggling into that country through the Beitbridge border post.

The cigarettes of Zimbabwean origin were stashed inside the trailer of a bus and one suspect reportedly fled.

“The fight against the smuggling of illicit cigarettes continues following the arrest of two foreign nationals at Beitbridge border post on Friday morning, 09 July 2021 after they were stopped in their tracks, allegedly smuggling a large consignment of illicit cigarettes into the country,” Limpopo province police spokesman Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said in a statement.

“The police received a tip-off about a bus with a trailer carrying illicit cigarettes in the vicinity of Beitbridge.”

He said the bus was spotted and routinely directed to the searching bay where police, together with customs officials, started searching the trailer and found 239 master boxes of Remington Gold cigarettes and 35 cartoons worth over R3 million.

“Two suspects were immediately arrested and the third one managed to evade arrest,” Mojapelo said.

“The search for the escaped suspect is still continuing.” “The suspects, aged 30 and 63, will appear in Musina magistrates’ court on Monday 12 July 2021 on a charge of possession of illicit cigarettes.”

It remains a mystery how the bus managed to go past all security roadblocks towards the border in Zimbabwe where a special operation is underway against smuggling and other illegal cross-border activities.

“One wonders how the bus passed scanning at the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra),” said one shipping clerk. “This is how we lose money through illegal exports,”

Although the Zimbabwean government has pressed its foot hard against smuggling of foodstuffs into the country, economists say its efforts should be directed towards goods leaving the country.

“Our losses are not from things coming into the country which are basically for consumption,” said a Zimra official on condition of anonymity.

“Our losses are through under-declaration and smuggling of exports. “It is high time the government takes this seriously, they know it.”

On one of his visits to Beitbridge, Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube said Zimra officers would be trained to evaluate minerals.

Zimbabwe could be losing billions of dollars in export duty loses through under-declaration of minerals.

Other losses are through rampant smuggling of gold and other precious minerals done mostly by those who are well connected to top officials. Standard

 

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