Abel Zhakata and Liberty Dube Post Reporters
TWO men took smuggling to another level after they brought heavy duty plant equipment into the country from Mozambique via an illegal crossing point in Katiyo. It remains a riddle how the cunning smugglers managed to drive the machinery across the mighty crocodile-infested Pungwe River unnoticed. The suspects, one of them a Mozambican, were however, arrested by the police border patrol unit.
They were slapped with a six-months jail term each after they were found guilty of contravening Section 182 of the Customs and Exercise Act Chapter 23.2 (Smuggling) by Nyanga magistrate.
Tambaoga Jerenyenje (42) of Guruve and Enoque Saide (67) of Manica in Mozambique were given an option to pay $600 fine each.
The equipment, which included an excavator and a tractor were forfeited to the State.
“On April 5, police received information that the duo intended to smuggle an excavator and a tractor from Mozambique through Katiyo illegal crossing point. Upon receiving the information, police proceeded to Katiyo Estate and identified a Massey Ferguson tractor, bowser, trailer and excavator parked at Katiyo Tea Estate factory,” said Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Tavhiringwa Kakohwa.
“They interrogated the duo. Tambaoga was operating the excavator while Saidi was driving the tractor. The suspects told police officers that they were instructed to smuggle the machinery through Pungwe River by Graham Taylor of Kurima nePovo Kubatsirana (KPC) from Vanduzi in Manica. According to them the equipment was meant to boost Mandebvu Construction, which is owned by Graham’s son Keegan Taylor, who is based in Harare. Mandebvu Construction Company is contracted by Katiyo Estate for bush clearance.”
Insp Kakohwa said an official with Mandebvu Construction Company, Privilege Matora, acknowledged that they were expecting machinery from Mozambique but he thought that the equipment was being transported through the Forbes Border Post.
Officer Commanding Manicaland Police, Commissioner Wiklef Makamache said the police had intensified operations along the border lines to plug leakages against smuggling.
“We mean business and we want to ensure that anything that comes into the country does so through designated border posts. We are sealing off illegal crossing points and we will not hesitate to impound vehicles and other accessories that are being used to facilitate smuggling.
“The country must derive duty from imports and the police is there to ensure economic crimes that bleed the economy are curtailed,” he said.