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Zimra tightens screws on smugglers

THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) says tight import regulations will be introduced starting today as part of measures to minimise rampant smuggling of commercial cargo by syndicates working with freight forwarding companies.

Zimbabwe is said to be losing millions of dollars in revenue at various ports of entry due to intrusive leakages involving organised criminals.

In a public notice yesterday, Zimra said registered clearing agents would from October 1 be required to attach proof of payment on Bills of Entries form 21 or form 49. A bill of entry is used to process the customs clearance of goods of commercial nature or bulky.

“This notice serves to inform all registered clearing agents involved in the clearance of commercial goods for consumption on bills of entry form 21 or form 49 on behalf of their clients from October 1, they are now required to attach verifiable proof of payment from the bank confirming that the funds to cover duties have been deposited into the Zimra bank account,” said Zimra.

“The transaction reference number shall be endorsed on Box 44 of the bill of entry. Failure to attach proof and endorsing the transaction number or reference will result in query notifications (F45) being raised requesting the same, and would be a violation of section 44 of the Customs and Excise Act.”

Of late there has been an increase in cases of freight forwarding companies being fingered in smuggling scams involving fake customs clearance documents.

This is common mostly on the imports of controlled commodities including fuel, washing powder, alcohol, and an assortment of groceries that fall out of the Open General Import License (OGIL).

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