Army, CID-Anti corruption clash over smuggling

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s anti-corruption drive is hitting a snag along the country’s borders amid reports that members of the Zimbabwe National Army manning the country’s ports of entry are being implicated in serious smuggling scandals.

This came on the backdrop of reports that soldiers clashed with the
members of the Criminal Investigation Department(CID) -Anti Corruption near Forbes border post in the Eastern Highlands two weeks ago.

Sources said the soldiers manhandled the CID officer and handed him to the officer commanding Manicaland (Propol) after serious clashes when the soldiers refused him and his crack team access to search some vehicles implicated in the smuggling of bales.

“We arrived in Mutare and had tip offs that some vehicles were using entry points manned by soldiers.

“We mounted a roadblock which lasted for 30 minutes because the soldiers came and manhandled my officers,” said the source.

Sources also said the soldiers responsible for the safety of the country’s border posts are collaborating with the smugglers and are making sure that the syndicates are protected resulting in clashes with CID officers.

 In the last two weeks, the CID Anti-Corruption invaded the ports of entry, Forbes and Beitbridge where they discovered that the entire smuggling syndicates have military protection.

Reports claim that smugglers have state of the art vehicles with some having iron mudguards to ensure they are bullet proof so that the police cannot shoot the vehicle and they pay $20 per bale for transportation from Mutare to Harare.

Last month, the CID in Beitbridge held a member of the Zimbabwe National Army in connection with the smuggling of a South African motor vehicle worth R200 000.

Latest report on the Illicit Tobacco Trade in Zimbabwe and South Africa, done by the Scowcroft Centre for Strategy and Security, reveal that fuel tankers and trucks were once used to smuggle cigarettes across the Beitbridge border into Zimbabwe.

Sifelani Jabangwe, president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) told Business Times in April that smuggling has affected Waverly’s operations.

“We have a lot of complaints from those manufacturing blankets as well as those in the fast-moving consumer goods sector. Now that our committee is more effective, some of these challenges should be mitigated,” he said.