Clayton Masekesa

MUTARE – Police in Zimbabwe’s eastern border town of Mutare are investigating the existence and operations of well-organised syndicates at the porous Forbes Border Post in the city, believed to be facilitating smuggling, prejudicing the country of millions of dollars in revenue.

Preliminary investigations have revealed that Zimra, Immigration and members from the country’s security forces manning the border have been involved in the smuggling at the busy entry point.

During the week, two Zimra officials appeared in court facing smuggling related charges and are out on bail awaiting trial on April 30.

In an interview on Friday, Officer Commanding Manicaland Police Commissioner Wiklef Makamache confirmed that the police had instituted investigations regarding the matter.

“We really want to get to the root of these illegal activities and bring to book all those involved. All this smuggling must stop. We are determined to fight to the end and ensure that all imports pay duty as per the law,” said Makamache.

“We will be giving you finer details because investigations are in progress.”

As the investigations intensify, there have been changes of duty officials at the entry point while new security details have been put in place.

Source said the syndicates involved some senior officials from Zimra, Immigration and security details.

“A lot is happening at the border. The border officials are making a lot of money, through some organised smuggling,” said the source.

The investigations and changes of personnel at the border follows last week’s events where a Trip Trans bus was given free passage at the border with more than 700 cases of smuggled soft drinks.

Another haulage truck was nabbed by police in Mutare carrying a contraband without proper clearing papers.