The Sunday News
Munyaradzi Musiiwa, Sunday News Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has intensified the crackdown on errant cross border transporters who are smuggling goods from neighbouring countries, mostly South Africa during the Covid-19 induced lockdown and has since fined the culprits a cumulative US$200 000.
The errant cargo carriers were fined for unauthorised opening of the seal, tampering with the SIM cards, losing and/or damaging the seal.
Other offenders were also fined for violation of the seals, including forcible removal or actual damage to the seals, deviation from declared and designated routes. Most mushrooming grocery shops, retail outlets and supermarkets in the country have also been providing a ready market for the smuggled basic commodities.
Some transporters would purport to be in transit to neighbouring countries before deviating and selling the products on the black market. In a statement last week, Zimra said it dealt with 35 076 trucks in 2020 some of which deviated their routes and tampered with seals which was an indication that they were smuggling goods.
“In 2020, Zimra reported that they sealed 35 076 trucks which gave the authority US$1 083 302.88 in sealing fees while the total revenue from fines stood at US$216 900.00.
“The system uses GPS/GPRS technology for tracking. Electronic seals are affixed to cargo containers, box trucks, soft sided trucks (flat decks with side curtains), tankers, and break bulk (goods under tarpaulin) the electronic seals send regular signals to the control room to show the location of the cargo. The electronic seal connects to the internet and the control room is manned 24 hours a day and relays information of violations to the reaction teams,” said Zimra in a statement.
Zimra said tampering with seals or deviating from dedicated geo-fenced routes attracts a fine of US$2 000.
“On sealing of a truck, the driver is required to select a dedicated geo-fenced route to the exit port which is captured in the system. Any diversion from these routes or entry into a restricted zone constitutes a geo fence violation which attracts a US$2 000 fine.
“Violations include unauthorised opening of the seal, tampering with the SIM cards, losing and/or damaging the seal. General disregard of the legislation by transporters, agents and traders. Violation of the seals, including forcible removal or actual damage to the seals, deviation from declared and designated routes,” said Zimra.
Zimra said it had embarked on a security system upgrade which will see the authority purchasing modern and sophisticated electronic monitoring devices including drones worth US$2 million.
“Zimra will move with speed to procure drones worth an estimated US$2 million that will be used at all ports of entry to reduce smuggling and underhand deals.
“Plans are also at an advanced stage to place a CCTV camera system at border posts and strategic areas. The CCTV system will be linked to a loss control command centre at Zimra head office that will have sight of the footage live feed from the border post. The system is expected to be procured and installed from funding in the 2021 budget,” said Zimra.