Army uniforms smugglers remanded in custody
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