Two Zambian cross-border transporters and their Zimbabwean accomplice have been sentenced to six months in jail for smuggling 28 bags of fertiliser to Zambia.
Ali Siandima (33) and Kelvin Sichila (23) both from Namafulo village in Zambia were arrested on June 20 by Zimbabwean police who were on patrol along the Zambezi River while their Zimbabwean accomplice, Smart Musaka (33) of Binga, evaded arrest.
Musaka handed himself to Binga police last week after hearing that his accomplices were still in custody.
Siandima, Sichila and Musaka all pleaded guilty to smuggling charges when they appeared before Binga magistrate Peter Tomupeyi Madiba on Friday.
The magistrate suspended three months of the sentence on condition they paid $100 fine each. The remaining three months were also suspended on condition of good behaviour.
The recovered fertiliser was forfeited to the State while the boat which they were using was sent back to the owner, Bornwell Nyambe, in Zambia.
The court heard that the two Zambians are cross-border transporters who use boats to transport people and goods between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
On June 20 this year, the two Zambians were hired by Musaka to transport 28 bags of fertiliser from Zimbabwe to Zambia.
They loaded them into their Zambia-bound boat along the Zambezi River.
They were caught red-handed by Zimbabwean police officers on patrol who found them loading the fertiliser onto the boat. Fertiliser worth $420 was recovered.
The two pleaded guilty to having intended to transport the fertiliser to Zambia without papers, but said they had been hired by Musaka.
They said they were just doing their routine work of transporting customers’ goods.
Musaka admitted having hired the Zambians. He said since he was not working he was trying to fend for his family through selling the fertiliser in Zambia.
Bruce Maphosa prosecuted.