By Lloyd Takawira
A syndicate of eight (8) cross boarder buses plying the Zimbabwe -South African route via the ever busy Beitbrigde boarder post has been busted by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).
In a statement ZRP said it had impounded 8 buses between Bulawayo and Beitbridge for nefariously smuggling goods into Zimbabwe.
The names of the buses was however not disclosed.
“The ZRP confirms that since last week 8 buses which were travelling from Beitbridge to Bulawayo and Harare have been impounded for smuggling groceries, clothes, electricals and other items into the country.”
The police further warned bus operators against underhand dealings.
“We are therefore warning bus operators to avoid being used as a conduit by smugglers who board buses in Beitbridge en-route to various towns or cities in the country”.
Zimbabwe is losing billions of dollars due to smuggling, ineffective border controls and customs loopholes especially at Beitbridge Border Post.
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) claimed that nearly US$1 billion a year is lost in unpaid customs duty.
Business leaders said the organised evasion of duties not only harmed government development efforts but compromised the viability of businesses that abide by all customs requirements.
Late last year tax authorities conducted a special audit that unearthed that more than 485 sets of vehicles were smuggled in to the country using irregular import documents with a potential revenue inflow prejudice to Treasury of US$70 million.
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority further said that, it was owed $5 billion in unpaid taxes, including from undeclared or under-declared goods, indicating the extent of the problem of non-compliance with customs requirements in the country.