BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes
THE Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has warned smugglers that it will not be easy for them to beat the current tax systems which involves neighbouring countries, as it seizes various cases of assorted alcoholic beverages worth over K1 million.
The K1 million seizure comes barely few days after ZRA impounded other trucks with alcohol that was declared as onions and fuel that was in transit but offloaded in Zambia.
ZRA Corporate Communications Manager, Topsy Sikalinda, said the authority was back with serious sophisticated ways of monitoring all imports and exports with the aim of curtailing all forms of smuggling in the country.
“Smugglers will not have it easy this time around as we will continue to seize and donate publicly both the goods and vessels used in smuggling,” Mr Sikalinda told the media yesterday in Lusaka.
Mr Sikalinda warned that ZRA had been working round the clock signing Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) with its sister revenue authorities in the region for information exchange.
Beating these systems, he stressed, would not be easy for any taxpayer because of the data exchange that was currently taking place between all revenue authorities within the region.
On the seizer of the K1 million cargo, Mr Sikalinda said the current truck that has been impounded and issued with a seizure notice was expected to lead to various arrests.
He explained that these arrests would see the perpetrators being charged with various offences among them; false declarations, false representation, misclassification, forgery and smuggling all under the Customs and Excise Act, Chapter 322 of the Laws of Zambia.
The cargo, Mr Sikalinda said, was declared under the Ministry of Education bill of entry and classified as filling cabinets when in fact this was alcohol destined for sale.
He explained that by using the name of a Government Ministry, smugglers thought they would have an easy ride and evade over K600, 000 in taxes.
“Facts of the matter are that the truck containing the alcohol entered the country through Chirundu One Stop Border Post and was being monitored by the intelligence unit of the Zambia Revenue Authority using our sophisticated surveillance equipment such as drones,” he said.