Govt steps up fight against smuggling


Business Reporter
Government has stepped up efforts to fight the smuggling of goods into the country with Statutory Instrument 113 of 2017 that prescribes fines of up to $2 000 for transit crimes coming into effect last Friday.

A fee of $30 shall also be payable on all road vehicles conveying goods and break bulk cargo through Zimbabwe, where such seals and or magnetic sealing cables are placed on the cargo according to the Customs and Excise (General) (Amendment) regulations, 2017 No 87.

Tank wagons shall not have interlinking trailers; where seals are tampered with, lost or there is unauthorised breaking of electronic seals placed on a vehicle, the offender shall be liable to a penalty of $1 300.

The transporter shall be liable to a penalty $2 000 for diversion from the route specified by the Commissioner General of revenue collector Zimra. The transit period of three days for cargo shall include weekends and public holidays.

The SI brings about legislative changes to improve the management of transit cargo in Zimbabwe and comes after introduction of the Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) to curb transit fraud and smuggling, as well as plug revenue leakages. The ECTS was commissioned by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Patrick Chinamasa on May 15 this year.

ECTS involves the use of electronic sealing devices, which are put on transit cargo at the port of entry and monitors cargo in real time up to the point of exit.

The tracking system is integrated into Zimra’s existing Customs clearance system – Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) World – and the electronic sealing devices send an alarm to the system’s control room on any violations, which include seal tampering, seal opening and incidents of geo-fence violations.

According to the SI, containers and vehicles conveying goods through Zimbabwe shall not be opened whilst in Zimbabwe while any seals or electronic seals that are found or placed on the containers and vehicles shall not be broken or tampered with.

All road vehicles and containers conveying goods through Zimbabwe shall be fitted with a device to facilitate customs sealing and where there are no such locking systems on the road vehicles and containers, the hinges shall be so made and fitted that doors and closing systems cannot be lifted off the hinge pins once shut.

Screws, bolts, hinge pins and fasteners shall be welded to the outer part of the hinges..

According to the SI, on road vehicles conveying break bulk cargo through Zimbabwe should be covered with a single tarpaulin tent with reinforced holes at the edges for placement of magnetic sealing cable and electronic seals while on road vehicles carrying abnormal break bulk loads, which cannot be covered by a single tarpaulin tent, written permission to allow the transit of such cargo should be sought from the Commissioner General of Zimra.

Other road vehicles which cannot be covered or sealed as required by the Commissioner General of Zimra, shall be escorted at the sole discretion of the Commissioner General, and costs shall be borne by the operator of the vehicle so requiring it to be escorted.

The flanges (filler caps), drain corks, and man holes of tank wagons shall be so constructed and have holes that are intact, not broken and of a size to facilitate customs sealing.

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