Army uni­forms smug­glers re­manded in cus­tody

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News/worldwide - Sukul­wenkosi Dube-Matutu Plumtree Cor­re­spon­dent

FOUR men who al­legedly tried to smug­gle cam­ou­flage uni­forms and mil­i­tary equip­ment into the coun­try have ap­peared in court.

The four were in­ter­cepted at Mpho­engs Bor­der Post on Sun­day while in pos­ses­sion of 22 com­bat sets of trousers and shirts, 20 khaki green­ish back packs, green water bot­tles with cam­ou­flage hold­ers and jun­gle hats.

Steven Ni­cholas Boshoff (52) of Gweru, Karl Lan­drey (27) of Harare, Love­more Dami­ano (48) of Chi­tun­gizwa and Ke­fasi Tetelele (47) of Chiredzi yes­ter­day ap­peared be­fore Plumtree mag­is­trate, Mr Li­vard Phile­mon, fac­ing un­law­ful pos­ses­sion of cam­ou­flage uni­forms charges. They were re­manded in cus­tody to Oc­to­ber 14 af­ter they were de­nied bail.

Their lawyer, Mr Mat­shobana Ncube of Phulu Ncube Le­gal Prac­ti­tion­ers, begged the court to re­lease the four men on $100 bail each ar­gu­ing that deny­ing them bail would in­fringe on their con­sti­tu­tional right.

The State, which was be­ing rep­re­sented by Mr Stan­ley Chinyan­ganya, op­posed bail on grounds that the four men were of no fixed abode. “The ac­cused per­sons are fac­ing a se­ri­ous of­fence and they are likely to ab­scond. Two of them claim that they work in Mozam­bique but they don’t have ap­pro­pri­ate pa­pers to prove that.

“The other two have South African per­mits and South African pass­ports, Your Wor­ship, this shows that they are of no fixed abode. These four men are not even clear on what they in­tended to do with the mil­i­tary ma­te­rial that they were car­ry­ing,” he said.

Mr Chinyan­ganya said the four ar­rived at Mpho­engs Bor­der Post on Au­gust 25 in two South Africa registered ve­hi­cles.

He said Boshoff de­clared the mil­i­tary ma­te­rial at the Zimra of­fices and a tem­po­rary im­port per­mit was pro­cessed un­der Dami­ano and Tetelele’s names. Zimra of­fi­cials alerted the po­lice who searched the ve­hi­cles and dis­cov­ered the mil­i­tary equip­ment.

“The uni­forms were taken to Zimra of­fices since cam­ou­flage ma­te­ri­als are con­trolled in terms of pro­vi­sion (1) of sec­tion 4 of the con­trol of goods (im­port and ex­port) com­merce reg­u­la­tion of 1974.

“The four men are Zim­bab­weans and are bound by law which pro­hibits pos­ses­sion of cam­ou­flage ma­te­rial,” Mr Chinyan­ganya said.

The men are sus­pected to be part of a group that takes ad­van­tage of civil dis­tur­bances to as­sault civil­ians while wear­ing se­cu­rity forces uni­forms. Two of the men — Boshoff and Lan­drey — first at­tempted to cross the bor­der into Zim­babwe on Tues­day last week in South African registered ve­hi­cles. They were de­nied en­try as they were Zim­bab­wean res­i­dents driv­ing for­eign registered ve­hi­cles and their cars were im­pounded.

They showed up again on Sun­day night this time in the com­pany of two other Zim­bab­weans Dami­ano and Tetelele who have South African work per­mits. The team de­clared the mil­i­tary ma­te­rial and claimed to be in tran­sit to Mozam­bique. — @DubeMatutu

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