The Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has suspended 136 of its clearing agents who were involved in illegal importation of about 460 heavy-duty trucks and earth moving machinery.

And the authority says it will prosecute owners of the said trucks that were illegally imported into the country through misapplication of Value Added Tax (VAT) Deferment Scheme.

ZRA corporate communications manager Topsy Sikalinda has revealed in a statement that the authority together with other stakeholders in the transport sector already issued a red alert on the vehicles in question

“The owners of the first batch of 460 vehicles were given an opportunity of 14 days within which to appear before the Inspectorate and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unit of ZRA. Unfortunately, very few appeared hence, the Authority has immediately issued a RED ALERT on all these vehicles with the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA), Zambia Police and other security wings to ensure they are impounded and the owners are taken to court for prosecution. So far, only 262 owners have appeared before the Authority under the first batch of 460 published vehicles in the press. 9.2 million kwacha was assessed as principal taxes out of which 1. 4 million has already been paid,” Sikalinda stated.

He stated that the authority had further suspended 136 clearing agents who were involved in scam.

“The 136 clearing agents’ who were involved in the scam remain suspended and their Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TPINs) remain blocked on the AsycudaWorld System. Smuggling of goods through false declarations, transit fraud, misclassifications, under-declarations, and under-valuations is a serious offence and offenders will be dealt with in accordance with the law. The Authority further urges all citizens to pay taxes directly to the Zambia Revenue Authority to avoid being swindled by smugglers pretending to be clearing agents,” stated Sikalinda.