Smuggling syndicates hit Forbes border post

MUTARE –  The police in Mutare  are investigating the existence and operations of well-organised syndicates at the porous Forbes Border Post in Mutare that have been facilitating smuggling, prejudicing the country millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Preliminary investigations have revealed that Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) officials, Immigration and security details manning the border are working in cahoots with smiugglers at the busy entry point.

Last Friday two ZiIMRA officials appeared in court facing smuggling related charges and are out on bail pending  trial on April 17.

In an interview on Wednesday, Officer Commanding Manicaland Police Commissioner Wiklef Makamache confirmed that the police have instituted investigations regarding the matter.

“We really want to get to the root of these illegal activities and bring to book all those involved. All this smuggling must stop. We are determined to fight to the end and ensure that all imports pay duty as per the law,” said Makamache.

“We will be giving you finer details because investigations are in progress,” he said.

As the investigations intensify, there have been changes of duty officials at the entry point while new security details have been put in place.

Source said the syndicates involved some senior officials from ZIMRA.,Immigration department and security details.

“A lot is happening at the border. The border officials are making a lot of money, through some organised smuggling,” said the source.

The investigations and changes of personnel at the border  follows last week’s events where a Trip Trans bus was given free passage at the border with more than 700 cases of smuggled soft drinks.

Another haulage truck was nabbed by police in Mutare carrying a contraband without proper clearing papers.