Blessings Chidakwa Municipal Reporter
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission has intercepted and impounded nine buses carrying smuggled goods worth thousands of US dollars during an ongoing anti-smuggling blitz.
This comes at a time the country is reportedly losing US$1 billion annually through smuggling.
In a statement yesterday, ZACC said it launched the operation after a tip-off that smuggling was now rampant at the country’s borders.
“Some of the smuggled goods found on the buses include an assortment of alcoholic drinks, blankets, bags containing new clothes, shoes, washing powder and energy drinks worth hundreds of US dollars.
“ZACC would like to thank whistleblowers for their continued support in exposing corruption and urge Parliament and Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to expedite the completion of the Public Interest Disclosure bill 2022 whose principles were approved by Cabinet recently.”
ZACC said the bus crews and passengers failed to produce Zimra declaration forms.
The contraband was found in the following buses: MB Transport (AFJ 0588, trailer ABS 1582) driven by Reveal Kazangarare, Urban Connect (AEU 7344), Bless IT UP Motors (AFQ 2435), Pangolin Transport (ACE 255,1 trailer AAS 6467), DRD Luxury Coaches (FF94YT GP, trailer JY94K GP) and MCB Transporter (AEZ 6383, trailer AEZ 3967).
Recently, two bus drivers, Taurai Mhlanga (36) and Samuel Matengu (37) were arrested for smuggling after a high speed chase.
They unsuccessfully tried to escape, disregarding ZACC’s instructions to stop but they were arrested after other teams participating in the joint operations joined in.
The pair’s bus had 300 cases of Dragon energy drink, 14 cases of Windhoek beer and 500 cases of Maq washing powder.
They have since appeared in court charged with smuggling.
Last month the National Security Taskforce intercepted 15 other buses carrying contraband as security authorities intensified their quest to curb the scourge of smuggling.
On Beitbridge border post it is understood that the smugglers are shipping the goods through illegal crossing points along the Limpopo River which they then load in buses heading to various towns and cities across the country.
Others are using buses carrying Zimbabwean migrants returning home by road through the Beitbridge border post.
On the legal entry points, there are also reports of people under-declaring their goods to evade duty payment prejudicing the country of potential revenue.