Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
POLICE in Victoria Falls have intercepted a smuggled container truck fully loaded with a Honda Civic vehicle, 105 bales of second hand clothes and a variety of other goods with an estimated combined value of close to $300 000.
The consignment entered the country through Kazungula Border Post on Friday where it was cleared and all the goods not declared to border officials, raising fears of a suspected smuggling syndicate involving cross-border transporters, border officials and a private security company manning the border post. The truck and consignment were en-route to Bulawayo and Harare from UK via Walvis Bay in Namibia.
Police intercepted the unregistered truck about 20 kilometres towards Victoria Falls on the Kazungula-Victoria Falls Road following an anonymous tip-off. Police and Zimbabwe Revenue Authority officials escorted the eight-metre long DAF truck to Victoria Falls Border Post where it is being detained while investigations continue.
When Sunday News arrived at the border post yesterday afternoon, officials from the security agents and Zimra were busy offloading the consignment to take stock of the smuggled goods. The DAF haulage truck written Royal Mail and the Honda Civic car were parked at the border while an assortments of goods were scattered everywhere as officials took stock.
The smuggled goods include the Honda Civic vehicle, 104 rubber drums measuring 200 litres each filled with second hand clothes, suitcases, bags and boxes loaded with clothes, beds, fridges, sofas, shoes, electrical gadgets such as television sets and several other household goods. The goods had different addresses showing they were destined for Bulawayo, Chitungwiza and Harare.
Police spokesperson for Matabeleland North province Chief Inspector Siphiwe Makonese and Zimra acting head of corporate communications Mr Taungana Ndoro could not be reached for comment.
Sources close to the investigations said the truck was allowed into the country around 6am before station managers for the different departments stationed at Kazungula had reported for duty.
“The truck spent Wednesday night on the Botswana side. I think the agent was facilitating easy passage. It then crossed the border on Thursday around 6am where it drove straight to the gate and security manning the gate just opened the boom without any papers being produced, a sign that everything had been arranged prior,” said the source.
The source said some alert citizens tipped-off police officers at the border who then informed Victoria Falls Police Station leading to a roadblock being mounted to intercept the truck. It is alleged that the driver and clearing agent (names supplied) tried to bribe the police for the truck not to be taken to the station but to no avail. They both later dumped the consignment while the owner is said to be in Harare. Zimra officials were called in after the truck had been stopped and they sealed it so it could not be tampered with.