A MOZAMBICAN safari manager has dragged authorities in Zimbabwe to court for unlawful confiscating his patrol material that includes camouflage uniforms.
BY SILAS NKALA
Stephen Boshoff and his companions were recently arrested for alleged smuggling.
The Mozambican then filed an urgent chamber application at the Bulawayo High Court citing officer-in-charge CID Law and Order Plumtree, the National Prosecution Authority, a public prosecutor identified as S Chinyangangya, senior public prosecutor Matabeleland, Martha Cheda, Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo, a Kanjoma, who is the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority’s station manager at Plumtree, as respondents.
In his founding affidavit Boshoff said he is employed as an administrator in Mozambique by a limited liability company known as Safaris de Mozambique.
“On September 25, 2016, I, together with Karl James Landrey, Lovemore Damiano and Kefasi Tetellelle entered Zimbabwe through the Mphoengs border post. We were travelling in two South African registered vehicles,” he submitted.
“Contained within the vehicles were, among other items, 22 camouflage uniforms and 22 camouflage belts and 26 cases of bottled water.”
Boshoff submitted that the items were declared at the port of entry.
“My purpose in entering Zimbabwe with the said items was to travel to Mozambique, where the 22 camouflage uniforms and belts were to be used for anti-poaching activities.
“Despite having declared the items, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority officials alerted the police, who searched the vehicles, seized the camouflage uniforms and camouflage belts, arrested my companions and charged them with unlawful possession or wearing of camouflage uniforms,” he said.
The safari manager said the police seized letters authorising them to drive the said vehicles, temporary import permits for the vehicles, receipt for items held in respect of the vehicles, their contents and other documents pertaining to the import of vehicles into Zimbabwe.
Boshoff said along with his compatriots, they were placed on remand, but were later released on bail. He said during their detention, police ordered them to surrender their vehicles and contents to Zimra in Plumtree, which his lawyer has said was illegal, as the police are the only custodians of the property seized as evidence.
Boshoff said an opinion on the charges was sought by the prosecution in Plumtree, from the Harare NPA, which said the charges must be withdrawn. Charges were subsequently withdrawn on January 9, 2017 and bail money refunded.
However, Boshoff submitted that Zimra Plumtree station manager refused to give them their cars and goods, demanding documentary evidence. Boshoff said it was sad that all the documents were with the police, who also refused to release their cars saying there was no order directing them to release the cars. Boshoff said Zimra and the police were violating their rights and prayed for an order compelling them to release the cars and the goods.
Ordinary citizens are barred from from wearing any camouflage used by the army or any clothing related to it in Zimbabwe.