ZIMRA pounces on flea markets

zimraMARONDERA - The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) besieged flea markets here last week, demanding immigration declaration forms for imported wares.

The exercise took unsuspecting informal vendors unawares, forcing them to take goods into hiding. Unscrupulous ZIMRA officials cashed in on bribes from vendors who failed to prove that their wares had been officially declared at the countrys designated entry points.

When we declare goods at immigration offices at the border, it is not written anywhere that one should keep safe declaration forms for future reference. ZIMRA should at least have flighted educative campaigns in the media that declaration forms must not be disposed of. Our goods were confiscated by ZIMRA while unscrupulous officials solicited bribes from vendors caught on the wrong side of the law, said Veronica Murwira. Some vendors said they imported goods in bulk and sold them at different flea markets across the country. This made it difficult to keep the required declaration forms at all venues.

ZIMRA officials indicated that cheating vendors skipped the declaration process at the countrys entry points thus depriving the state millions of dollars in revenue. As long as importers of goods continue to slip through immigration without declaring goods, ZIMRA will track them down and collect what is due to government. Truck drivers, corrupt immigration officials and bus crews are the major culprits. This was the reason why ZIMRA has road blocks along roads leading from the countrys designated points of entry, said a ZIMRA official, adding that the authority would continue springing surprise sieges until importers of goods become honest and professional.

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