By A Correspondent- A South African truck driver was yesterday fined $80 000 for smuggling goods worth $2,3 million through the Beitbridge Border Post last week.
Kenneth Phila Vilakazi (38) was convicted on his own plea of guilty to contravening a section of the Customs and Excise Act (smuggling) when he appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Mr Steven Ndlovu.
The goods were forfeited to the State as part of the sentence. If Vilakazi defaults paying the fine, he will be jailed for 14 months.
The prosecutor, Ms Karen Gundani, said last week on Wednesday, Vilakazi, who is employed by a South African company Net Logistics, crossed into Zimbabwe via Beitbridge Border Post driving an Iveco truck towing two trailers. He only declared goods he was transporting as per his employer’s consignment.
The court heard that he then proceeded to Bulawayo en route to Harare. The following day at around 6PM, the truck was intercepted by police along the Bulawayo-Harare Road near Zuva garage while Vilakazi was trying to offload the goods into another truck heading to Kwekwe.
Vilakazi was asked to produce declaration forms for goods in his possession and he failed to do so.
The matter was referred to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and Zimra was engaged. It was discovered that Vilakazi’s truck was transporting both declared and undeclared goods.
The seized goods were 496 cases of Maq washing powder, 335 cases of bar soaps, 40 cases of foam bath, 422 cases of Dragon energy drink,145 cases of corned beef, 30 boxes of sweets, 96 boxes of creamer, 95 cases of Nivea body lotion, 261 cases of Koo beans,156 cases of Mayo yoghurt and two by 20 litres of paint. The total value of the goods was $2,3million.