Mozam­bi­cans in court over R26m sea snails

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Sukul­wenkosi Dube-Matutu Plumtree Cor­re­spon­dent

TWO Mozam­bi­cans who were ar­rested for smug­gling R26 mil­lion worth of sea snails with a weight of 1 672 kilo­grammes into Zim­babwe have de­nied the charge ar­gu­ing that they were not aware that the ve­hi­cle they were trav­el­ling in had con­cealed goods.

San­tos Lourenco Nhamache (44) through a lawyer, Mr Thobekani Ny­athi of Ma­sawi and Part­ners said he had been as­signed to col­lect goods from Bu­l­awayo while Car­lose Lourenco (43) said he was a pas­sen­ger in the ve­hi­cle. Sea snail is a com­mon name for snails that nor­mally live in salt water, in other words ma­rine gas­tropods and they are of dif­fer­ent types.

“Your Wor­ship, my clients do not ad­mit to com­mit­ting this of­fence. My first client is a driver and he was hired to col­lect some goods from Bu­l­awayo and take them to Botswana. He wasn’t aware that the ve­hi­cle he was driv­ing had a se­cret com­part­ment adapted to con­ceal goods. My sec­ond client was a mere pas­sen­ger in the ve­hi­cle. He was given a lift from Botswana and wasn’t aware of the ex­is­tence of goods in the ve­hi­cle,” Mr Ny­athi told Plumtree mag­is­trate Mr Tau­rai Man­were last week.

The two Mozam­bi­cans are fac­ing a charge of us­ing a ve­hi­cle with a se­cret com­part­ment adapted for the pur­pose of con­ceal­ing goods. They were re­manded in cus­tody to Tues­day for con­tin­u­a­tion of trial. Prose­cut­ing, Mr Stan­ley Chinyan­ganya said the pair was in­ter­cepted on 4 Septem­ber around 12 noon at the Plumtree Bor­der Post af­ter a Zimra scan­ner de­tected the pres­ence of the con­cealed goods.

“On 4 Septem­ber the two ac­cused per­sons and a third per­son who is still at large ar­rived at the Plumtree Bor­der Post from Botswana in a South Africa-reg­is­tered Hino Su­per F truck that was be­ing driven by San­tos. They later drove to the Zimra scan­ning shed at the bor­der post and San­tos sur­ren­dered his pass­port and an empty man­i­festo to a Zimra of­fi­cial and pro­ceeded for scan­ning of the ve­hi­cle,” he said.

Mr Chinyan­ganya said dur­ing the scan­ning process the im­age an­a­lyst no­ticed some small balls and alerted Mr Lewis Sibanda who is a Zimra scan­ner. He said Zimra of­fi­cials con­ducted a phys­i­cal check of the ve­hi­cle in the pres­ence of the two men and their ac­com­plice and dis­cov­ered a se­cret com­part­ment. Mr Chinyan­ganya said the pair’s ac­com­plice whose iden­tity is un­known told the Zimra scan­ner that he wanted to make a call to the owner of the ve­hi­cle so that he could ver­ify what was in the car.

“He went away un­der the pre­tence of buy­ing air­time but he didn’t come back. Zimra of­fi­cials found 72 car­toons of abalone weigh­ing 1 672 kilo­grammes. They were seized by Zimra of­fi­cials and San­tos and Car­lose were ar­rested,” said Mr Chinyan­ganya.

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