ZIMRA nabs fuel fraudsters
BY Wellington Zimbowa
NATIONAL revenue collector, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZMIRA), recently flawed a smuggling bid by three unscrupulous tanker drivers in a neatly woven scheme by drivers alleged conniving with clearing agents and the tank owners.In a statement the revenue collector said the three tankers had declared fuel in transit at Forbes Border Post, which is near Mutare misrepresenting that it was destined for Zambia.However, in actual fact, the fuel (market value not given) was offloaded for the local market in a bid to bypass duty payment.
“During the period from 17 July 2021 to 23 July 2021, three tankers that had declared fuel at Forbes Border Post en route to Zambia was intercepted at Chirundu One Stop Border Post all loaded with water instead of fuel as per the declarations made at Forbes Border Post. The tankers had respectively declared 44 924 liters of diesel, 39 932 liters of diesel and 45 800 liters of petrol destined for Zambia however the three tankers after physical inspections turned out to be carrying water,” read the statement.
The statement, however, does not give the actual value of potential revenue missed including actual charges leveled against two of the three drivers that have since appeared in court.
“The three fuel tankers were flagged for physical inspection and with the assistance of police; two drivers were arrested and have already appeared in court. The driver of the third tanker is still at large as he disappeared during the physical inspection of the vehicle. The Authority is currently capacitating the intelligence management unit and will continue leveraging on technology and data matching to fish out fuel smugglers,” explained Zimra’s Head Corporate Communications, Francis Chimanda.
The arrested drivers for the two fuel tankers, Godfrey Nyamukondiwa and Joseph Guveya, who appeared in court on Monday the 26th July were granted bail worth $30.000 each and are set to reappear in court on the 24th August 2021. The bond for the Clearing Agent involved has been recommended for suspension until the duty due for the fuel has been secured.
“Intelligence at hand points to possible connivance between transporters and their drivers as well as some unscrupulous agents. The transit fuel does not exit Zimbabwe and is consumed locally against customs regulations. The smugglers off-load and sell the fuel in Zimbabwe. Thereafter, they load the trucks with water and proceed to Chirundu for the acquittal process. Once acquitted, they enter Zambia where they drain the water and buy cheaper fuel for delivery to their customers. This ensures that they make a hefty profit in Zimbabwe since they would have brought the fuel into Zimbabwe duty-free,” said Mr. Chimanda.