Car smugglers dribble past ZIMRA’s weak ‘temporary imports permits’ controls

The implementation of weak control measures surrounding the Temporary Imports Permits (TIPs) by Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) has fueled the rate of luxury vehicle smuggling, Zim Morning Post has learnt.

It is believed unscrupulous car dealers are capitalising on the loophole and smuggle luxury cars mainly through Beitbridge border post for resale with ZIMRA losing millions of dollars in tax revenue.

Information at hand shows that as at December 31 2018, 35 210 outstanding number of electronic TIPs were recorded.

 “The TIPs had not been acquitted despite the fact that they had expired and this results loss of revenue due to irregular use of TIPs.

“Some of the vehicles have localised without proper clearance,”revealed  Auditor General Mildred Chiri.

She lambasted the weak controls surrounding the acquittal process of TIPs and recommended that ZIMRA liase with Central Vehicle Registry (CVR) and ZINARA to clear vehicles that are on TIPs.

The average number of vehicles cleared last year could not be immediately ascertained.

ZIMRA management said the abuse of the facility by vehicle smugglers was a result of the increase in the number of diasporans was in the process of strengthening legislative, administrative and enforcement controls regarding TIPs by the end of the fourth quarter 2019.

Follows up are being done both locally and in the country of export where certificates of location are used to confirm the re-export of the vehicle.

“Desk audits are being done, by searching using passport and chassis number to retrieve several entries for a particular vehicle if any and acquit the prior entries against the latest.

“As ZIMRA we are also utilizing the CVR database to check registration of vehicles,”submitted the management.

“At Beitbridge there is a project on acquittal of TIPs which is underway and should be through by end of third quarter of 2019.

‘Systems verifications are also being done to acquit TIPs with subsequent TIPs issued to the same vehicle,” ZIMRA management further noted.

Several prominent businessmen and socialites are well known for flaunting luxurious  vehicles smuggled through  Ramokgwebana and Beitbridge border posts but authorities have turned a blind eye on them.

The newly appointed Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission is urged to put the alleged syndicates under the microscope.