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ZRA smashes a dangerous smuggling cartel involving K42.3 million.

The Zambia Revenue Authority has intercepted 50 trucks carrying Ethanol, Cooking oil and Salaula worth K42.3 million in taxes.
The authority says the trucks have been issued with seizure notices in accordance with section 141 and 142 Chapter 322 of the Customs and Excise Act for breaking the law.
ZRA Corporate Communications Manager Topsy Sikalinda tells Money FM News that out of these trucks, 8 were transporting ethanol but deliberately declared as methanol with intent to defraud the state of over K10.9 million kwacha in taxes.
“Ethanol is 98% alcohol that is used in the manufacturing of high content alcohol known as Tujilijili, Junta and other dangerous alcoholic spirits when diluted. These alcoholic spirits are usually sold cheaply in the streets and in most cases to children with consequential health hazards,” he said.
“Further, 34 trucks currently held at the ZRA Makeni Enforcement Centre were intercepted while transporting cooking oil misclassified as palm crude oil when in fact it is purified cooking oil ready for consumption. Related to this fraud, another 8 trucks have been seized at Chanida border and are being transferred to the Makeni Enforcement Centre.”
He said this fraud would have led to loss of K24.7 million. Please note that crude palm oil attracts zero customs duty.
He added that the misclassification adversely affects local manufacturers through unfair competition.
“This also destroys the market for local farmers of soya beans and sunflower. Six 6 trucks have been seized for misclassifying Salaula (secondhand clothes) as agricultural pumps with intent to defraud the state of K6.7 million kwacha. The agricultural pumps attract zero customs duty,” he said.
“Some of these trucks were declared as transit goods when in fact they were dumping these goods in the country. On a good note, the Authority has released 12 trucks that were impounded after a tip off from transporters (owners of the trucks). The trucks have been released while the goods have been seized.”
He said the Commissioner General of the Zambia Revenue Authority, Mr. Kingsley Chanda, has invested a lot of money in press adverts asking transporters to report all smuggling activities and these transporters have responded to that appeal by reporting the mismatch between what was on the documents and what was being transported.
“The identity of these transporters will be protected as promised by the Authority. Those transporters who do not report these activities risk their vessels being seized and forfeited to the state. To this end, all the seized trucks will be forfeited to the state without compensation as soon as investigations are concluded,” he said.
“We have further suspended 10 ZRA employees who are suspected to have been conniving with the smugglers and reported them to the security wings for further investigations and possible prosecution.”
The ZRA Corporate Communications Manager said smuggling is a big threat to the economic growth of the country because it creates price distortions, unfair competition and robes the country of the much needed revenue.
He further added that smuggling is also a serious security risk that must be stopped at any cost.
“The authority will not spare any smuggler, clearing agent, transporter and even ZRA officers involved in smuggling or any form of tax evasion. Our newly rebranded Inspectorate and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unit has been fully resourced and re-engineered in order to stop any form of revenue leakage,” he cautioned.

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