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Zimra confiscates 80 000 smuggled phones

Local News
The High Court dismissed the firm’s application after hearing submissions from both parties.

A ZAMBIAN telecommunications company lost 80 000 mobile phones worth US$352 930 to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) following a foiled smuggling bid.

Rock Telecom Limited had its 81 540 mobile phones confiscated by Zimra with the matter spilling into the High Court after the company’s efforts to recover the gadgets hit a brickwall.

The High Court dismissed the firm’s application after hearing submissions from both parties.

Rock Telecom had sought an order declaring that Zimra’s forfeiture of its Tecno mobile phones was grossly irregular, arguing that the revenue collector failed to take into account the fact that there was no proven violation of the Customs and Excise Act.

The Zambian company also argued that Zimra’s forfeiture of its mobile phones was grossly harsh, excessive and unfair because the authority could have imposed a penalty which is provided for in the statutes.

High Court judge, Justice David Mangota, however, dismissed the application noting that its arguments lacked merit.

“It follows from a reading of the above-analysed matters that the applicant’s last ground of review is devoid of merit. It is dismissed as well.

“The applicant, it is evident, failed to prove its case on a balance of probabilities. The application is, in the result, dismissed with costs,” he ruled.

Rock Telcom had submitted that in October 2022, it imported 96 820 Tecno mobile phones from China and to be delivered to Zambia which is its country of domicile.

It engaged a transporter, Allied Customs Freight, who lodged a manifest and its clearing agent registered a bill of entry.

Zimra’s officials conducted a physical examination of the goods and discovered that the clearing agent had under-declared the phones in the consignment.

The authority seized the phones after discovering that 81 540 mobile phones worth US$352 930 were not declared.

According to court papers, Rock Telcom wrote to Zimra advising that its agent had under-declared the goods despite being provided with all the paperwork.

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