THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) has made several arrests in connection with the massive car smuggling racket in which government may have lost millions of dollars in unpaid duty at the country’s borders.
By Rex Mphisa
Several suspects, including some Zimra officials, are believed to be on the run, but yesterday, a Zacc official confirmed a number of arrests had been made.
“We have made a number of arrests. I do not have figures off hand, but we have made some arrests and the net is closing in on several other suspects,” Zacc spokesperson John Makamure said.
More than 430 cars were this week recalled by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) for verification of the genuineness of their importation and owners were asked to bring papers related to the vehicles clearances.
Most of the cars under spotlight were imported illegally through Beitbridge and Plumtree border posts.
Cars listed on a Zimra list published in the media last week include high-powered Toyota double cabs, Toyota Fortuners, late model Isuzu double and single cabs, among numerous other late models, whose duties were never paid.
It is believed smugglers, in some cases car dealers from Harare and other towns, used some shipping agents to fraudulently import the vehicles.
Exploiting a fallible Customs and Excise system, the suspected smugglers worked in cahoots with some Zimra officials to bring in the vehicles without paying a cent.
It is understood the arrests were widespread and some could have been in Beitbridge and Plumtree, where Zacc is working with the police.
Panic gripped the border town when many Beitbridge socialites’ names appeared on the list of people invited to present documents.