Dragnet on smuggled luxury vehicles

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi

Staff Writer

ZIMBABWE authorities are targeting Harare car dealers selling smuggled luxury vehicles to unsuspecting motorists in the country in a bid to weed out the culprits evading paying duty for the vehicles.

Through sophisticated cartels, several car dealers have smuggled in thousands of luxury vehicles into the country by manipulating various loopholes to ensure that the vehicles would not pay full duty.

In an interview this week, Police Spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi urged the motoring public to purchase vehicles from reputable authorised franchises.

“We have a joint operation with the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission to net all smuggled vehicles that are on the roads and some parked in car sales. A lot of people have lost a lot of money because of this.

“I want to emphasise the importance of purchasing vehicles from reputable authorized franchise dealerships over the temptation to get a cheaper option from unauthorized dealerships who use under the table means to avoid full duty payments.”

According to Nyathi, there is a huge influx of people being arrested and appearing in court over such cartel dealings.

“We have numerous reports of motorists who have lost thousands of dollars by trying to cut corners and buying top of the range vehicles from dubious car dealers,” he added.

In the past few weeks, several car dealers, accused of smuggling vehicles into the country, have appeared in court. Some of them have been accused of conniving with other officials from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA), Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA), Central Vehicle Registration (CVR) to fraudulently register smuggled vehicles into the systems of the relevant institutions.

In a separate interview, Tatenda Gombe, who was sold a stolen Next Gen Ford Everest, which was then tracked down by Interpol Police, said he could not believe what had happened.

“To think I debated with my wife about buying the new vehicle. I thought it would be cheaper and would leave us with cash to finish up other projects. However, my wife insisted that we buy the vehicle from authorised dealers.

“I simply ignored her advice and went to buy the vehicle from some car dealers in Msasa. I have tried to go back and look for them but couldn’t find any. I have lost money and it’s sad.”

Gombe said, buying vehicles from authorised dealers avoids losing money and it comes with parts and maintenance support.

“Had I bought my vehicle from authorised dealers, there wouldn’t be any such losses. Apart from the service and maintenance support, I would have been assured that if there is anything wrong, I know where to find them.

“I hope no one falls into the same trap. It might appear cheap to source vehicles from car dealers, but at the end of the day it will be your loss,” a teary Gombe added.

Meanwhile, police have made a total of 99 738 arrests and impounded over 2 346 vehicles since launching ‘Operation Tame the Traffic Jungle’ mainly targeting pirate taxis. Zimbabwe Republic Police said the campaign was launched due to the state of lawlessness on the country’s roads, where drivers are regularly flouting road traffic rules.

The ZRP spokesperson also appealed to licensed public service vehicles not to contribute to the congestion and chaos by loading and unloading passengers at undesignated points and openly endangering the lives of the public through reckless conduct at controlled road intersections and traffic lights.

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