ZIMRA operates with shabby scanners amid gold smuggling concerns
Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube has admitted that the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) is operating with broken down scanners in several borders which increases gold smuggling chances and vowed to resolve the challenges.
This was revealed last Thursday in Parliament by Magwegwe MP Anele Ndebele. He said when he last visited Plumtree Border with the Post Mines and Minerals Committee, he discovered that the only scanner they had, had been taken to Beitbridge because the Beitbridge scanner broke down.
He was asking Minister Ncube if his recent budget was catering for such an anomaly.
“I just have one or two points regarding ZIMRA. Our last visit to the Plumtree Border Post revealed that the only scanner they had, had been taken to Beitbridge because the Beitbridge scanner broke down. Is this budget adequate enough to resource our border posts in that direction?
“We also noted as the Mines and Minerals Committee that the scanners they have were unable to detect gold that is smuggled through the border post,” he asked.
Ndebele added: “Further on the question of resources for ZIMRA, we noted with concern that this outfit is grossly understaffed. Clearly, ZIMRA has to share computers and we also noted with concern that they have gone for two to three years without getting new uniforms because every time they go to tender, the rates change and affect their budget.
“Are we good enough with the figures the Ministers have given us to take care of such issues? I am an ardent believer of the fact that bad money chases away good money. I thank you.
Ncube responded and said that his ministry was availing foreign currency to ZIMRA so that it imports the necessary equipment.
“Hon. Ndebele talked about broken down scanners and so forth, we are fully aware of these challenges and we are supporting ZIMRA with access to foreign currency to import the necessary equipment to be able to scan whatever goods are going to cross our borders.
“You mentioned issues of understaffing and uniforms and so forth, we are working with ZIMRA to make sure these issues are resolved. We will support them as much as possible,” Ncube said.
Financial observers this year noted that the smuggling of gold, Zimbabwe’s top foreign currency earner, is estimated to cost the southern African country US$1.5 billion.
Recently, Henrietta Rushwaya was apprehended at the Robert Mugabe International Airport with 6kgs of gold worth US$400 000 before her former driver, Tashinga Nyasha Masinire was also arrested at OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa with 23 pieces of gold worth R11m (US$783 000). Nehanda Radio