A COMBINED team of officers from the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), Zambia National Service (ZNS) and Zambia Police have impounded 23 trucks laden with smuggled maize which were destined for Zimbabwe.
In a statement, ZRA commissioner customs Sydney Chibbabbuka stated that the trucks were impounded after an operation in Lusaka, Kafue and Chirundu which led to the interception and seizure of various 30 ton trucks laden with maize going to Zimbabwe.
“A combined team of officers from the Zambia Revenue Authority, Zambia National Service and Zambia Police have impounded 23 trucks of laden with maize for attempted smuggling into Zimbabwe(2 have mealie meal and 21 with maize).The trucks were impounded after an operation was conducted in Lusaka, Kafue and Chirundu by the joint team leading to the interception and seizure of various 30-ton trucks laden with maize going to Zimbabwe,” Chibbabbuka stated.
“We will not allow any smuggling of goods especially maize because it borders on national food security. Country men, this maize is mostly financed and grown by our farmers on the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) and government has invested millions on Kwacha to ensure we have a solid food security. The ban on Maize exports is purely meant to support the local food security and avoid price escalations for the local citizenry.”
Chibbabbuka said four trucks had already crossed to the Zimbabwean side but were impounded by officers on the Zimbabwean side as they had no Zambian clearance and export documents.
“The smugglers thought they would take advantage of the one stop border post in Chirundu because the set up requires that a truck only stops in Zimbabwe and does not stop in Zambia. Despite the one stop border set up, the Zambia Revenue Authority officers have full presence on the Zimbabwean side with full legislative powers,” Chibbabbuka said.
“Four of the trucks had already crossed to the Zimbabwean side but were impounded by our officers on the Zimbabwean side.The trucks had no Zambian clearance export documents and were seized in accordance with Sections 149 and 151 of the Customs and Excise Act, CAP 322 of the Laws of Zambia. SI No. 64 of 2019 that restricts the export of Maize and Maize products has been been invoked.”
Chibbabbuka said the Authority had apprehended 12 drivers to assist with further investigations on the matter.
“The Authority has further apprehended 12 drivers to assist with further investigations. Other trucks have also been impounded in the hills and the bushes along the Chirundu road with drivers faking breakdowns but we are determined to bring them to Lusaka and as we speak, they are being tolled into Lusaka,” said Chibbabbuka.
“The Authority working with other security wings will not spare any smuggler, clearing agent, transporter and even ZRA officers involved in smuggling or any form of tax evasion. Our enforcement teams are fully resourced and re-engineered in order to stop any form of food security and revenue leakage.”