BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes
FOUR trucks laden with assorted lotions worth over K1.7 million have been intercepted by the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) at Chanida Border, as the organisation focuses on bridging the revenue gap through anti-smuggling.
ZRA has also donated over 24,552 liters seized cooking oil and 494,825 kilogrammes mealie meal and maize to the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) as part of fight against smuggling.
For the four trucks, the consignments were declared as cleaning materials by using an additional procedure code for Chipata General Hospital hence enjoying an exemption from taxes.
This is according to ZRA Corporate and Communications Manager, Topsy Sikalinda.
Mr Sikalinda said in a statement that alert ZRA officers intercepted the consignments in Katete and inspected that trucks with was assorted body lotions contrary to what was declared as cleaning materials for the hospital.
“Investigations have revealed that this is a pure case of smuggling through False Declaration, False Representation, Misclassifications, Document falsification and abuse of a Taxpayer Identification Number contrary to the customs and excise Act Cap 322 of the Laws of Zambia,” he said.
Mr Sikalinda expressed concern that revenue collection had become a challenge with Covid-19.
He said ZRA was now focused on bridging the revenue gap through anti-smuggling, debt recovery and audits as part of the strategy.
The results, Mr Sikalinda said, were already being recorded as various consignments had been intercepted and seized in line with zero tolerance to smuggling in last two months.
“Among them, 2 trucks of alcoholic beverages one in Chirundu that was declared as onions, another in Lusaka declared as cabinets for ministry of education.
“Two trucks with cooking oil which has already been donated to various government hospitals and charitable organisations,” he said.
Mr Sikalinda said ZRA had also successfully managed to prosecute a clearing agent of Nakonde who was jailed for various smuggling related offences.
He warned that more jail sentences were expected because ZRA had resolved to prosecute all offenders in the courts of law.
Meanwhile, about 494, 825 kg various consignments of seized mealie meal and maize amounting K1.3 million and 24,552 liters of cooking oil worth about K700, 000 to DMMU under the vice president’s office.
Mr Sikalinda said all these consignments were intercepted in various parts of the country including Chingola, Chipata, Chirundu and Kasumbalesa for smuggling related activities.
“This is all being done in line with the provisions of the customs and excise act cap 322 of the laws of Zambia which empowers the Commissioner General to donate items to government or deserving charitable organizations in line with the provisions,” he said.