A Zambian businessman has been arrested in connection with smuggling more than 3000 rounds of ammunition, shoes and a television set into Zimbabwe en-route to Zambia in breach of the Customs and Excise Act.
Simon Banda (age not given) will also be charged with contravening the Firearms Act for insecure handling of ammunition after it was discovered that the consignment was loaded into an ordinary trailer. The consignment was coming from Cape Town in South Africa. The offence was discovered when the driver of a haulage truck, Lovemore Mukono Muzavazi made a report that two boxes of 70mm 12 Bore rounds had been stolen between Chinhoyi and Karoi along the Harare-Chirundu Road after unknown suspects had cut a tent covering the load.
Each box contained 250 rounds of ammunition.
Muzavazi is assisting police with investigations.
Acting Mashonaland West police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Ian Kohwera, yesterday confirmed the arrest, adding that the suspects were being held at Karoi Police Station. “I can confirm that we received a report of theft of ammunition between Chinhoyi and Karoi by the driver of a haulage truck after discovering that the tent covering the consignment had been cut,” he said.
He said Muzavazi reported that after checking the load, he discovered that two boxes containing 70mm 12 Bore rounds were missing and made a report at Karoi Rural Police Station.
The matter was handed over to CID for investigations who established that the truck left Cape Town on March 21, but noted that the consignment of 319 514 units of 70mm 12 Bore rounds and 354 units of 9 mm pistol rounds as reflected on the consignment note was in an ordinary trailer in contravention of arms handling, which stipulates that they have to be in a container.
Banda and Muzavazi reportedly told the police that the consignment was loaded in a container before the truck broke down in South Africa and another truck with an ordinary trailer was summoned from Harare to recover the load.
Muzavazi works for Gravity Haulage Company while Banda who is believed to be the owner of the consignment runs an ammunition company based in Lusaka, Zambia.
After initial investigations the truck was cleared to leave for Chirundu Border Post where further checks would be made. Checks by Zimra established that there were 12 extra boxes that were not declared at Beitbridge Border Post.
It also established that there were 16 pairs of shoes, nine boxes of snooker game accessories, 50 cartons of plastic clips, a 32 inch colour TV set and stand and groceries that were not declared belonging to Banda.
He will be charged with contravening sections of the Customs and Excise Act for smuggling and the Firearms Act for insecure handling of ammunition.
“The 12 extra boxes did not appear on the bill of entry leading to his (Banda) immediate arrest. He is expected to appear in court soon to answer to two charges of smuggling and insecure handling of ammunition,” Asst Insp Kohwera said.
HERALD OF ZIMBABWE