By Owen Mandovha
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority has exposed fuel smuggling syndicates after three trucks carrying water were intercepted at Chirundu Border Post enroute to Zambia.
However, on checking the declaration documents, it was discovered that they had declared fuel as the commodity on transit to Zambia.
Zimra Loss Control Manager, Tapiwa Manyika said the apprehension of the two truck drivers exposes the work of sophisticated fuel smuggling syndicates working in cahoots with unscrupulous ZIMRA officers.
“What happens is that these smugglers buy cheap fuel purportedly for the Zambian or DRC customers so they don’t pay duty in Zimbabwe because that fuel will be in transit. However, they offload fuel in Zimbabwe and sell it high. They then load the tankers with water to complete the acquittal process at Zimra because they will be tracked until they get out of Zimbabwe. Once they get on the other side of the border, they dump the water and buy fuel in Zambia which is also cheap and they pocket the difference,” he said.
Mr Makore said the recent case resulted in the country being prejudiced over 40 000 United States dollars in potential revenue from customs duty.
Government has cited smuggling as a cancer to the economy with revelations that the South African Police Service intercepted a consignment of unprocessed tobacco worth over US$700 000 from Zimbabwe.
It is unclear how this happened but it also justifies the recent policy attempts by Government to reform the tobacco industry so that the country benefits from the marketing of the golden leaf.