|Hijackers bleed cigar exporters|
|Monday, 12 November 2012 00:00|
Fidelis Munyoro Assistant News Editor
million worth of cigarettes to armed robbery syndicates.
Savanna Tobacco has confirmed losing cigarettes worth over R18 million through hijackings and robberies while their warehouse in SA has been broken into several times.
Only British American Tobacco Company has been spared.
Cosygene Dekeya, a former army military intelligence operative and Edmore Muronzerei appeared in court last week.
After studying the state outline, Mbare Magistrates’ Court area prosecutor Mr Austin Muziwi demanded thorough investigations into possible industrial espionage.
Mr Muziwi has since written to the police advising them to carry out further investigations with a view to charging the pair with espionage.
“When the case was referred to court, it was returned to station on the basis that the charge was inappropriate and further investigations needed to be carried out.
Investigations by The Herald showed that the Tobacco Institute of South Africa contracted a security firm, Forensic Security Service, to monitor Zimbabwean cigarette manufacturers, whose brands are giving their South African counterparts stiff competi- tion.
Zimbabwean cigarette manufacturers.
The spies allegedly supply consignment export details, enabling the cartel to track, intercept and highjack.
The mogul’s trucks have also been highjacked in what might turn out to be inside jobs.
“It is deplorable, you cannot have foreign agencies working for our competitors to distabilise our operations in Zimbabwe.
“We are aware of the under cover operations for quite some time now. This is tantamount to industrial espionage and it is highly illegal and frowned upon the world over.
“Imagine people spying on you and following your consignment. It becomes sensitive and clients will stop buying your product,” he said
“This espionage has compromised our ability to export and obviously to earn foreign currency for the country,” he said.
“Zimbabwe cigarettes are of high quality and supplied at a competitive price, which gives our competitors interest to make it difficult for our operations,” said Mr Acutt.
Breco, which is now trading as Fodya said their market intelligence has over time indicated that there were clandestine activities being undertaken by some organisations to disrupt their business.
“We understand most companies in this industry experienced this form of activity in one form or another,” said
“What is most alarming is that some of the organisations involved in these activities are externally-based and being assisted by local Zimbabweans.
“We cannot say categorically how these organisations or institutions operate as we are still gathering information, but we know for a fact that information was being sourced from our own employees, for the benefit of our competitors and or some other external organisations, for competitive reasons.”
“We don’t know what the driving force for this activity is but competition within the industry cannot be ruled out.
“It is this that is unacceptable for us for which we will seek legal and political recourse,” said Fodya.