The Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has unearthed a scam and impounded 60 tanker trucks involved in fuel smuggling at Chanida, Chirundu and Katima Mulilo border post.

ZRA Corporate Communications Manager Topsy Sikalinda told journalist, Sunday, that so far 5 trucks at Katima Mulilo and 15 others at Chirundu border have already been seized and forfeited to the state for smuggling fuel.

“Zambia Revenue Authority has unearthed another fuel scam at Katima Mulilo boader and Chanida boarder. So far a total of 60 trucks are in detention. Details are are as follows: 5 trucks here at Katima Mulilo Boarder have already been seized for smuggling while 15 others have been seized. Another 3 trucks have been detained so far which are headed outbound. We also have 23 trucks inbound and 4 trucks outbound at Chanida boarder. Facts of the matter are that, the trucks have installed false belly tanks meant to be used in concealing the smuggled fuel. The belly tanks are not connected to the vehicle fuel system and investigations have revealed that the fuel is actually meant to be used for internal operations within Zambia after being offloaded. The drivers are currently giving statements and the’4 trucks inbound at katima mulilo boader have been seized and will be forfeited to the state in accordance with section 149, 156 and 160 of the Customs and Excise Act, Cap 322 of the Laws of Zambia,” he said.

“This has actually been affecting our revenue collections and this explains the underperformance of excise duty on fuel due to smuggling. The Zambia Revenue Authority will not hesitate to prosecute anyone who smuggles items into the country as this robes the Zambian people of the much needed resources meant to improve social Welfare, health, education and other strategic sectors of the economy. Investigations continue with other impounded trucks, while all boarders have been put on high alert. We want to send a very strong warning to all truckers with additional tanks on the trucks to remove them immediately before we pounce on them and they risk losing their trucks if we find them With additional tanks meant to conceal undeclared fuel.”

Meanwhile Siklinda says the authority has deployed anti-smuggling officers at all border posts to ensure that members of the public do not smuggle goods into the country during the festive period.

“We know that as an authority, the festive period is around the corner and Zambia during this period has lot of imports that are coming in preparation for the period. Various items will be coming in terms of alcohol and other items. We went to also send a very strong warning to the general public especially the importers out there that we are up to the task. We have deployed our enforcement teams in all the areas. Our mobile compliant units are always on the ground and we will make sure that if you try and smuggle any item during this period we will face you head on and we will make sure that we deal with you extensively,” said Sikalinda.

“As you are aware last year circular number one was issued by the Commissioner General which stated that if you try to smuggle any item into the country, we will not only seize the item but we will go further and seize the vessel rusty wad being used to smuggle these items into the country.” Therefore the authority is in high alert during this period to make sure that people do not smuggle items to rob the Zambia people the much needed revenue resources.”