Copper smuggler fined $300, loot confiscated
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