ZRA corporate communications manager, Topsy Sikalinda explained that out of the 54 trucks, 8 were transporting ethanol but deliberately declared as methylated spirit with intent to defraud the state of over K10.9 million in taxes.
THE Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has intercepted 50 trucks carrying various assorted items worth K42.3 million in taxes and suspended 10 of its employees suspected to be involved in the scam.
These trucks were intercepted from various countries entering through different border posts.
The trucks have since been issued with seizure notices for breaking the law. ZRA corporate communications manager, Topsy Sikalinda explained that out of the 54 trucks, eight were transporting ethanol but deliberately declared as methylated spirit with intent to defraud the state of over K10.9 million in taxes. Ethanol is 98 percent pure alcohol used in the manufacturing of high content alcohol known as Tujilijili, Junta and other dangerous alcoholic spirits when diluted.
Mr Sikalinda told the media yesterday in Lusaka that 34 trucks were currently held at its Makeni Enforcement Centre after being intercepted while transporting cooking oil misclassified as palm crude oil.
"Some of these trucks were declared as transit goods when in fact they were dumping these goods in the country," he said. And Mr Sikalinda said eight trucks have been seized at Chanida border and were being transferred to the Makeni Enforcement Centre.
This fraud, he explained, would have led to loss of K24.7 million. "Six trucks have been seized for misclassifying salaula (second hand clothes) as agricultural pumps with intent to defraud the state of K6.7 million. The agricultural pumps attract zero customs duty," he said.
Meanwhile, the authority has suspended 10 ZRA employees who were suspected to have been conniving with the smugglers and reported them to the security wings for further investigations and possible prosecution.
He also said ZRA had released 12 trucks that were impounded after a tip off from transporters (owners of the trucks). Mr Sikalinda explained that the trucks had been released while the goods had been seized.