Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
A Harare truck driver who was recently arrested at Beitbridge Border Post for smuggling 21 tonnes of salad cream worth R520 000 from South Africa was on Monday fined $1 000.
Obvious Muchazivepi (45) of Kuwadzana Phase 3 was convicted on his own plea of guilty to contravening a section of the Customs and Excise Act when he appeared before Beitbridge resident magistrate Mr Langton Mukwengi.
The accused risks imprisonment of six months if he fails to pay the fine.
Muchazivepi, who is employed by Hash Logistics of South Africa, was intercepted by the Ferret Squad on February 14 at the last checkpoint when he was about to leave for Harare.
Prosecuting, Mr Oswell Arufandi said the accused arrived at Beitbridge Border Post driving a truck towing two trailers.
He then teamed up with a customs clearing agent, who is yet to be identified, to smuggle the consignment of 2 400 cases of salad cream using his passport and gate pass only.
Muchazivepi then went through immigration and customs formalities without declaring his load, after which he drove to the last exit gate en route to Harare.
The man, who was in the company of the customs clearing agent, was then stopped for routine compliance checks by the Ferret Squad.
During the checks, Muchazivepi and his clearing agent failed to produce relevant customs documents.
The trailers with registration numbers HP 05 VZ GP and HP 05 WH GP were then taken to the Container Depot for physical examination. The customs agent took to flight during the physical examination.
Mr Arufandi said the truck and the consignment worth R520 638 were subsequently seized by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority under notice of seizure numbers 021514L and 021515L respectively.
Muchazivepi was then arrested.