Customs to acquire modern liquid testing devices

THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) says it will acquire advanced testing equipment to monitor liquid imports in a bid to curb smuggling.

BY REX MPHISA

At the moment, the department cannot monitor the liquids using its current scanners and relies on individual declarations.

This makes it vulnerable to false declarations, a senior Customs official said at the weekend.

“The department (Zimra) will soon acquire advanced technology to test bulk liquid imports and see if it matches declarations,” Customs and Excise manager at Beitbridge, Paul Mthembu, said at the weekend.

“At the moment, we can only, through scanning, see it’s a liquid without being able to see which type.”

He was responding to a question by Beitbridge East legislator Albert Nguluvhe, who asked if Customs and Excise scans could differentiate between petrol and water.
Nguluvhe was on a familiarisation tour of the Beitbridge Border Post on Sunday.

“We have heard stories where some dealers import fuel purporting it’s in transit, but dump the product on the local market. They then fill tankers with water, they later acquit as fuel exported to other countries, only to throw it away in that country after their fraudulent deal,” Nguluvhe said.

Customs has resorted to vehicle escorts and electronic trackers to monitor trucks in transit in order to minimise smuggling.

In some cases, importers of crude oil have been accused of bringing in finished products.
In 2017, former Zimbabwe Revenue Authority chairperson Willia Bonyongwe said they had lost close to $1 billion to transit smuggling.

Mtembu said his department was in the process of acquiring modern devices after top Zimbabwean and South African Customs and Excise officials met in Musina recently to increase co-operation at the Beitbridge port and also discuss the planned one-stop border post between the two countries.

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