Tough mea­sures on tran­sit fraud

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - NEWS - Char­ity Musareva

GOV­ERN­MENT has with im­me­di­ate ef­fect di­rected all cargo in tran­sit to exit the coun­try within five days, fail­ure which it will be im­pounded.

This fol­lows ram­pant smug­gling of goods, es­pe­cially, pe­tro­leum prod­ucts, that are de­clared as in tran­sit but are then off­loaded in Zim­babwe without duty be­ing paid for them.

The mea­sure is part of a broad ini­tia­tive that will re­quire im­porters of com­mer­cial cargo to seek pre-clear­ance of their goods or risk pros­e­cu­tion.

Es­ti­mates show that Zim­babwe has been los­ing mil­lions of dol­lars over the years in tran­sit fraud, mostly via the Beit­bridge ad Chirundu bor­der posts.

Ac­cord­ing to Statu­tory In­stru­ment 260 of 2018 gazetted last Fri­day, Gov­ern­ment has amended the Cus­toms and Ex­cise (Gen­eral) Reg­u­la­tions of 2001 as pub­lished in Statu­tory In­stru­ment 154 of 2001. The ef­fect is that from De­cem­ber 1, 2018 “any goods in tran­sit shall be ex­ported within three days or in the case of ab­nor­mal loads, five days of the date of en­try or re­moval, fail­ing which the goods shall be de­liv­ered to the cus­tody of the (tax) au­thor­ity within that pe­riod”.

The reg­u­la­tions also com­pel bulk im­porters to clear their goods be­fore they land in Zim­babwe. This is meant to ease con­ges­tion at ports of en­try and fa­cil­i­tate thor­ough ver­i­fi­ca­tion of goods.

“An im­porter or his or her agent who with ef­fect from 1st De­cem­ber 2018, fails to lodge with the (Zim­babwe Rev­enue Au­thor­ity) Com­mis­sioner (Gen­eral’s Of­fice) the pre-clear­ance doc­u­ments … shall be guilty of an of­fence and li­able to a fine not ex­ceed­ing level seven or to im­pris­on­ment for a pe­riod not ex­ceed­ing six months or both such fine and such im­pris­on­ment.”

Pres­i­dent Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Gov­ern­ment has set out to plug rev­enue leak­ages and boost le­git­i­mate eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties as part of the ease of do­ing busi­ness agenda.

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