Smuggled grocery and household goods worth R54 120,71 were intercepted in a police blitz at Beitbridge Border Post, with owners of the goods forced to pay duty worth $27 979,05.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the anti-smuggling operation and the arrest of seven cross-border drivers.
“The smuggled goods comprised food stuffs, furniture, building materials and blankets all valued at R161 432. The accused persons were handed over to customs officials where they paid duty of varying amounts totalling $108 063,52,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
The intercepted vehicles carrying smuggled goods included both South African and Zimbabwean registrations: Mercedes Benz CEY 1235; Toyota Quantum JC27DZGP; Iveco CEM 4668; UD truck WCF411GP; Forbes Trans Bus ADC2673; Nissan Caravan AEC1761 and a Toyota Hiace AEK1399.
Asst Comm Nyathi said more investigations were underway and advised members of the public to follow correct procedures at border posts to avoid inconveniences.
“The ZRP is warning travellers, officials and shop owners to stop evading duty and committing criminal acts,” he said.
Cases of smuggling at Beitbridge Border Post are common, with some Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) officials and agents regularly caught on the wrong side of the law.
Recently, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) arrested 14 Zimra officials on allegations of smuggling vehicles.
Four Zimra supervisors were also reportedly implicated in the smuggling scam and one of them has since been suspended from work.