Two Harare-bound South African haulage trucks with smuggled goods worth a combined monetary value of R1,3 million were intercepted by border authorities, with six suspects arrested in two separate incidences last Monday.
The suspects were nabbed by the Ferret team which is made up of various security agents, following a tip off, state media reported Friday afternoon.
Sources at the border say the first truck was carrying an assortment of groceries worth R457 086 with one of the suspects falsely declaring that they were importing grain and prejudiced the state of $1,6 million in import duty.
The second truck, whose handlers had misrepresented that they were carrying diapers and salt, had a contraband of groceries valued at R900 000 attracting an import duty of $2, 7 million.
According to a source, the goods were seized by authorities from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) with the suspects being charged with smuggling.
The six suspected smugglers include Tiyani Simango (32), Micheal Nkono (40), Trust Wiridzo (37), Washington Murandu (39), Rayson Kakono (42) and Stephen Zvinavashe (42).
They were not asked to plead to smuggling following their appearance before Beitbridge resident magistrate, Toyindepi Zhou.
The criminal sextet was remanded to 15 July on $2 000 bail each, with instructions to report once per week at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).
Prosecuting, Manyonga Kuvarega alleged that on 29 June 2020, at around 1 pm, a team of detectives from CID Beitbridge received information that there was a truck load of smuggled goods which was on its way to Harare.
Acting on the information, the police then intercepted a Mercedes Benz Truck registration number AF 17Y GP towing two trailers registration numbers RRL 234 GP and RRL 233 GP at Masvingo turn off along the Masvingo Beitbridge road.
Nkono is said to be the one who was driving the truck, with Simango having cleared it.
Kuvarega told the court that during police interrogations, Wiridzo and Murandu arrived and claimed ownership of the goods and produced a bill of entry number C33709 indicating that the truck was loaded with maize meal.
The truck was then escorted to Zimra Beitbridge for physical checks where a consignment of 500 boxes of Maq washing powder, 760 boxes Britelite bar soaps and 478 cases Dragon energy drinks, 75 boxes Nivea body lotion and 26 boxes Lux bath soap was discovered.
Zimra confiscated the goods under seizure numbers 014108L and 014107L.
The state prosecutor also said, later that day, another truck with registration numbers JB 273 GP and towing two trailers registration numbers CL 99 CK GP and CL 99 CT GP was intercepted in the same manner at Whelson truck stop, Beitbridge.
He revealed that the truck was being driven by Kakono who was travelling with Zvinavashe. They both indicated to the police that they had imported diapers and salt under a customs Bill of Entry number C33741.
Upon being taken to Zimra container depot for physical checks, 800 Maq washing powder,1 000 Britelite bar soaps ,919 bull brand corned meat, 30x12x20ml red bull, 38x24x500ml dragon, 30x2x500ml switch, 13 boxes D’lite cooking oil, 1267x12x37ml of D’lite cooking oil, 448x12x400gg tomcod tinned beans from South Africa, were also discovered.
Zimra impounded both the truck and the goods under seizure notice numbers 041109 L and 014110L.
Since the beginning of Zimbabwe’s Covid19 lockdown on March 30, authorities have seized goods from 81 offenders at the border and impounded 21 commercial trucks.