SOME drivers of the 50 Zupco coaches imported through Beitbridge last week were fined over $700 000 for attempting to smuggle goods.
The smuggling was discovered by Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) officers who directed coaches with the undeclared goods to a holding parking bay for investigations.
“I am not sure if it was planned or not, but when searched, it was found these buses had undeclared goods and were subsequently held,” a Zimra officer, who requested anonymity, said.
“The buses were released after duty and a 100% penalty was paid. The amount was about $360 000 duty and the fine was a similar amount,” the officer added.
“Units without smuggled goods were released immediately and driven directly out of the border,” he said.
About half the buses imported last week were parked in a bay where the Zimra’s anti-smuggling unit searches vehicles suspected of carrying contraband.
Neither Zimra nor police were reachable for comment yesterday.
The units, which cost US$58 900 each were imported via Durban by different companies registered as Massbreed, Kingfisher and Sinotruk.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week commissioned the 50 buses.
The buses have been drafted into the urban fleets where the government is trying to tackle a nagging transport crisis.
Government last year banned privately commuter omnibuses, leaving commuters stranded under Zupco monopol