Own Correspondent|A United States diplomat smuggled two rifles and two shotguns into the country in 2016, only to declare the weapons in February 2019, about a month before leaving Zimbabwe, state media reports on Saturday.
According to a security documents which state media claims to be in possession of, Mr John Kent, a US Embassy Attaché responsible for Overseas Building Operations and was project director for the New Embassy Campus, requested to import the firearms through a note verbale to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade on February 15. Mr Kent was, however, already in possession of the firearms, which he had not declared as part of his diplomatic luggage in 2016.
He also did not register or get the weapons licensed.
Mr Kent’s tour of duty reportedly ends in December, but because the construction of the new embassy ended in February, he left earlier.
The weapons allegedly smuggled into the country by Mr Kent were two Bolt Action rifles — a Savage 111 and Remington 700 — and two semi-automatic shotguns — a Berreta A390 and Weatherby SA-08.
The report claims that the weapons could have been used for nefarious purposes, including civil disturbances that occurred in 2018 and this year, although the media could not ascertain the claim.
“Kent flagrantly violated the law by not declaring his firearms to Zimra (Zimbabwe Revenue Authority) on his entry into the country in 2016. The firearms were apparently treated as part of the diplomatic luggage, was unlawful since firearms are among exceptions to this, under the Vienna Conventions.
“Kent stayed three years in the country, in possession of unlicensed firearms which is also a violation of the law. There is no guarantee that the firearms were not used for any outward or unlawful activities during that period.
“The US Embassy through the note verbale misrepresented facts by indicating that Kent is intending to import firearms,” says the report.