Cop­per smug­gler fined $300, loot con­fis­cated

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Sukul­wenkosi Dube-Matutu

A MAN from Bulawayo has been ar­rested for smug­gling 104 kilo­grammes of cop­per val­ued at $2 080 into Botswana.

Min­er­als and Bor­der Con­trol Unit po­lice in­ter­cepted Lameck Mwanga (31) of Emakhan­deni sub­urb at the Plumtree Bor­der Post on Mon­day with the cop­per, which was hid­den in his ve­hi­cle.

Plumtree mag­is­trate Mr Li­vard Phile­mon con­victed Mwanga on his own plea of guilty to fail­ure to give sat­is­fac­tory ac­count of pos­ses­sion of cop­per and smug­gling. He fined him $300 or three months im­pris­on­ment in case of de­fault.

Mr Phile­mon fur­ther ruled that Mwanga’s ve­hi­cle and the smug­gled cop­per should be for­feited to the State.

Pros­e­cut­ing, Ms Jenipher Maone Shuche said de­tec­tives re­cov­ered the cop­per hid­den un­der the car bon­net, in the boot and un­der the back seat.

“On 22 Au­gust at around 7PM, Mwanga ar­rived at the Plumtree Bor­der Post driv­ing a Botswana reg­is­tered BMW mo­tor ve­hi­cle. He went through all bor­der for­mal­i­ties and pro­ceeded to the bor­der exit gate.

“Mwanga was in­ter­cepted by de­tec­tives who re­ferred him to the search bay for a rou­tine check. The de­tec­tives searched the ve­hi­cle and found rolled cop­per stashed un­der the bon­net, in the boot and un­der the back seat,” she said.

Ms Shuche said Mwanga failed to pro­duce a cop­per deal­ing li­cence and failed to ex­plain why he had the cop­per. She said the cop­per is sus­pected to have been stolen from ZEDTC power lines and Mwanga did not have dec­la­ra­tion forms for the cop­per.

In mit­i­ga­tion, Mwanga told the court that he did not steal the cop­per but was as­signed to smug­gle it into Botswana.

“I was des­per­ate to earn money to sus­tain my fam­ily and a man work­ing in Botswana of­fered me a job of trans­port­ing the cop­per. He as­signed me to col­lect a pack­age in Lu­veve sub­urb and I was sup­posed to take it to him in Botswana.

“He also di­rected me to hide the cop­per in the ve­hi­cle as he didn’t have money to pay duty. I was just try­ing to put food on the ta­ble for my fam­ily,” he said. — @ DubeMatutu

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