Police, Zimra must support Mangudya

HARARE - Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor — John Panonetsa Mangudya — has what it takes to restore confidence in the banking sector.

His acceptance speech was laced with the right indicators, signposting some of the areas that need action, going forward.

Two things loomed large in his maiden speech — living within our means and stamping out corruption.

The governor, traditionally known for being a quiet man and strong Christian, needs the support of critical arms of government to succeed.

He requires crucial support from the police and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) to plug leakages in the economy caused by mineral and financial criminals.

It would be wrong to expect a swift improvement in the liquidity situation without addressing the areas contributing to illegal flight of money and smuggling of minerals.

While official figures suggest $2 billion mysteriously went out of circulation, it is not far-fetched to say close to $4 billion has been siphoned from the economy through criminal activities — at our porous borders.

Zimbabwe’s border monitoring and patrolling leaves a lot to be desired despite the country’s boasting of a capable police force and revenue collection system.

The multi-billion dollar tobacco industry is laden with criminals, some who are known to local authorities, who direct illicit trading and cigarette smuggling.

A local cigarette manufacturer has filed complaints with the police but with very little success despite witnesses leading evidence.

Beitbridge Border Post is at the epicentre of criminal activities.

Cases of successful prosecution are far outweighed but slippages which can be either interpreted as lackadaisical attitude by police and Zimra or simply a case of the two being active players in the criminal activities.

Zimra brought in modern scanners to screen buses and haulage trucks for illegal cargo but this has not stopped smuggling.

Last month, two men were cleared of gold smuggling by a Beitbridge magistrate following their arrest on charges of contravening sections of the Gold Trade chapter 21:03 (section 3(1) (a) dealing or possessing gold without a licence) and Customs and Excise Chapter (section 182, smuggling) acts, respectively.

They were suspected of attempting to smuggle into South Africa 5kg of gold valued $212 085, 92

British passport holder - Richard Anthony Devlin and Mark Patrick Greenhalgh — were cleared after claiming they did not know that the vehicle they were using, which belonged to a Bruce MacMillan, was carrying the gold.

This month, a Zimbabwean couple was arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle gold bricks worth R6 million into South Africa at the Beitbridge Border Post.

May Peter Spies and wife Elizabeth appeared at Musina magistrate court facing charges of unlawful possession of precious metals.

They will appear in a South African court on June 26 after succeeding in getting bail.

On May 5, a South African billionaire — Frikkie Lutzkie — allegedly abandoned his chopper at a West Nicholson farm and concealed it following a crash.

The billionaire South African was suspected to have been on the prowl for gold in this gold-rich part of Matabeleland South region.

His presence in the Zimbabwe airspace had “not” been detected.

Lutzkie once buried another helicopter in 2012 when one of its engines failed and crashed in Botswana while returning from a hunting safari.

These incidents serve to underline the importance of full cooperation between police and Zimra to stem mineral, cigarette and financial leakages at our border posts.

The preponderance and/or recurrence of such activities under normal circumstances should alarm responsible offices.

We must not harp about prosecutorial successes without asking ourselves how many other incidents are passing unnoticed.

Ignoring these but expecting our financial meltdown to ease would be foolhardy.

This is why Mangudya needs the support of both police and Zimra.

 

Comments (1)

smugling in beitbridge is very rife and a thriving business you should see the kind of houses people are building there. I lived in beitbridge for 2 years and witnessed first hand how smuggling is done both at the border and through illegal crossing points. that place is full of criminals and the authorities know everything. those who are caught don't know anything see most are white ask me and I can give you good intel

kelex - 29 May 2014

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