Ray Bande, Senior Reporter
ALERT Zimra officers in Mutare intercepted a haulage truck carrying 2,1 tonnes of mbanje from Malawi into the country on Wednesday afternoon.
Although repeated efforts to get a comment from police were fruitless at the time of going to Press as they insisted that investigations were still in progress, Zimra Forbes Border Post station manager Mr Nelson Chuma confirmed the seizure of the contraband.
He said: “What happened is that the truck was coming from Malawi, according to the documents we have. It came to the border and declared as an empty container.
It was driven from here (border) into the country.
“We have a checkpoint at a T-junction, where the road from the border meets Park Road. We have our team stationed there; they carried out normal checks. As experienced officers they wanted to check whether there was really nothing in the truck.”
The Zimra Forbes Border Post station manager said their officers knocked around the container to ascertain whether it was indeed empty.
“What they simply did was just to knock around the container and as they were doing so they noted from the different sounds coming from the same container that there was a false compartment.
“They asked the driver to assist them can check inside. He opened the main door of the container but the driver was no longer cooperating at all and kept asking irrelevant, questions,” he said.
Mr Chuma said the officers at the T-junction check- point then called for assistance from their main office.
“When we arrived we started helping with investigations and that is when the driver disappeared. He did not leave any keys but, fortunately, he disappeared leaving behind some documents showing the truck’s details, name of the driver and the driver’s passport.
“We noted that there was a false compartment. We eventually managed to move the truck into GMS Road- port. We drove the truck to a secure point near the warehouse,” he said
The Zimra officers then called in the rest of the security personnel. “We called in the rest of the security guys who were not there when the truck was intercepted. In the vehicle there were some spanners that we thought were used in welding the false compartment. We used the same spanners to unlock the false compartment,” Mr Chuma said.
He confirmed that there were 93 bags of the drug, which weighed 2,1 tonnes but could not immediately ascertain its value.