The Zimbabwe Anti- Corruption Commission (ZACC) has arrested 10 Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) officers and agents stationed at Beitbridge Border Post on allegations of smuggling vehicles into the country. According to sources the arrested suspects are part of a large syndicate involved in the smuggling of 2 400 vehicles.
Zimra has so far identified 102 of the 2 400 vehicles suspected to have been smuggled and more suspects are expected to be arrested as investigations continue. One of the four Zimra supervisors implicated in the smuggling scam has since been suspended to pave way for investigations.
ZACC spokesperson Commissioner John Makamure said the operation to recover smuggled vehicles was an ongoing exercise and the commission expected to recover more as investigations progressed. The arrest of Zimra officers and agents follows a blitz launched jointly by ZACC and Zimra and targets to recover 2 400 vehicles suspected to have been smuggled into the country.
Government is being prejudiced of millions of dollars as a result of the smuggling of vehicles and other goods hence the need to rid Zimra of corrupt elements.
Government has declared war against corruption and has urged members of the public to assist in fighting this vice by reporting corrupt officials to either ZACC or the police. The arrest of Zimra officers and agents is therefore a welcome development and the challenge to ZACC and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is to ensure successful prosecution of the arrested suspects. ZACC said recently that it is concerned about the public perception that corruption suspects are only arrested as a window dressing.
The commission said members of the public have raised concern at the increasing cases of corrupt officials arrested and later released by the courts. Government has in the past blamed the collapse of corruption cases to poor investigations.
It therefore urged those involved in investigating corruption cases to be thorough and follow due process to enable the wheels of justice to move faster. Government has noted that some corruption cases have collapsed spectacularly because investigators rushed to court without doing a thorough job.
We want at this juncture to implore investigators to take seriously concerns raised by Government regarding the process of investigations and arrests. The public’s wrong perception of ZACC’s arrests can only be addressed by successful prosecution of suspects.