By Lloyd Gumbo
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has intercepted four tankers carrying over 140 000 litres of diesel that was purportedly in transit to the Democratic Republic of Congo but illegally offloaded in Chitungwiza and replaced with an equal quantity of water.
The smugglers prejudiced Zimra of $55 650 in excise duty.
The tankers then proceeded to Chirundu Border Post where they were intercepted after the revenue collector, through its electronic cargo tracking system, picked a suspicious detour.
Fears abound that such fraud had been going on for some time.
Zimra board secretary and director for legal and corporate services Ms Florence Jambwa confirmed that the four trucks had been intercepted and impounded.
“I can confirm that on 30 January 2017, the electronic cargo tracking system enabled Zimra to identify, through the geo-fencing alarm system, use of unauthorised transit route by tankers carrying diesel purportedly destined for the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said Ms Jambwa in e-mailed responses to The Herald.
“The Zimra Reaction Team promptly attended to the case and the tankers were tracked and, upon arrival at Chirundu One Stop Border Post, verifications revealed that the tankers were carrying water instead of diesel as per the Customs clearance documents.
“The tankers have been seized by Zimra and the case will be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the Customs and Excise Act [Chapter 23:02].”
Concerns have been raised before that cargo that is purportedly in transit is being offloaded in the country.
As a result, the country has been losing millions of dollars in revenue collections.
But Ms Jambwa said the new electronic cargo tracking system that was installed on January 1, 2017 had proved useful as the revenue collector was now able to detect such misdemeanours.
“The electronic cargo tracking system, which the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority rolled out early this year to curb transit fraud, has started to pay dividends due to its capability to identify diversion of route, tampering with seals and pin-pointing exact locations of transit cargo throughout the trip from entry point to port of exit.
“These capabilities are making it increasingly difficult for cargo to be illegally offloaded in Zimbabwe when it is declared as in transit to other countries.
“The tracking system is also complementing Zimra’s risk profiling and anti-smuggling strategies currently in place, such as use of non-intrusive scanners, the canine unit, and escorting of high risk cargo,” said Ms Jambwa. The Herald