Rising smuggling cases worry Zimra

via Rising smuggling cases worry Zimra | The Herald August 11, 2015

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority has raised concern over an increase in cases of smuggling and abuse of travellers’ rebate which has seen the country losing a lot of revenue and also fuelled the rise of importation of restricted goods.

Zimra regional manager for Beitbridge Mr Christopher Zifudzi told a delegation led by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko during a visit to the Beitbridge Border Post last week that the two vices were rampant at Sadc’s busiest inland port of entry.

He said between April and June this year, they had intercepted 469 people per month, who were smuggling goods and sending at least nine per month for prosecution for various customs offences.

Mr Zifudzi said in some cases people were lying that their goods were in transit to avoid duty. “We have a problem with transit fraud where goods said to be destined for other countries are offloaded and consumed within Zimbabwe,” he said.

“This results in loss of revenue and importation of restricted goods.

“Corruption and loss of potential revenue is another challenge, though we have implemented some of the following measures to reduces this vice; engaging in anti corruption campaigns, taking disciplinary action against staffers, sending perpetrators for prosecution, asset declaration, security vetting of potential employees to the organisation and conducting periodic lifestyle audits.”

Mr Zifudzi said the low compliance levels by importers and travellers required more physical examinations because voluntary compliance had declined due to various social and economic factors.

He said in some instances they were using the canine section and mobile scanners to curb intrusive leakages at the border post.

Mr Zifudzi said the infrastructure at the border post was not enough to handle the volume of both human and vehicular traffic, adding that these needed major renovations.

“The continued presence of touts, vendors and beggars is also congesting the border post, though we are doing our best to contain the situation,” said Mr Zifudzi.

“We are appealing to Government to give the border post the recognition it deserves by developing infrastructure such as office space, ablution facilities, road network, signage and separation of traffic. It will also be important for our Government to consider venturing into partnerships with other investors on build, operate and transfer arrangements so as to recapitalise the border post.”

The situation at the port of entry was exacerbated by acute staff shortage due to unavailability of accommodation in the border town. An average of 450 000 travellers, 21 000 trucks, 3 200 buses and 30 000 private cars access the border post per month.