Govt losing millions in border scandal


Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
GOVERNMENT is losing millions of dollars in potential revenue to syndicates abusing the immigrants’ rebate facility (Returning Resident) to clandestinely import vehicles duty free across most ports of entries, it has emerged.

It is understood that the racket is well pronounced at Beitbridge Border Post where most vehicle imports from South Africa are processed.

Statistics from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) show that so far 17 cases were intercepted between December 2017 and April this year.

Further 3 256 cars were imported under the Immigrant Rebate facility via Beitbridge border post in 2017.

On average a modest vehicle attracts import duty of between $2 500 and $5 000.

Zimra’s acting head of communication Mr Taungana Ndoro confirmed the developments yesterday.

“From 01 December 2017 to date, 17 cases have been intercepted for abuse of Returning Residents facility (Immigrants rebate),” he said.

“Some of the methods used by such people to clandestinely import the motor vehicles include situations where clients are being used to declare motor vehicles, which do not belong to them.

“In such cases agents buy cars and pay clients to declare the vehicles under Immigrants rebate. In addition, we also encounter clients who would have been granted immigrants rebate within the last four years trying to import another vehicle”.

Mr Ndoro said the immigrant rebate was being granted under the provision of Statutory Instrument 154 of 2001 – Customs and Excise (General) Regulations, 2001.

According to the Statutory Instrument, an Immigrant Rebate is granted to any person who enters the country to take permanent residence or a visitor but remains to take up employment or permanent residence or a diplomat but remains to take up employment or permanent residence or to attend any educational institution; or for the purpose of attending any educational institution.

They are allowed to import household property and vehicles duty free on condition that they satisfy the Zimra Commissioner General that they owned the goods and the same (goods) were fully paid for before or on the first occasion of entry into the country and declaration as an immigrant.

“Rebate of duty on immigrant’s effects…includes the spouses of such persons but excludes any person who has previously resided or been employed in Zimbabwe unless such a person is returning to Zimbabwe after having resided outside Zimbabwe for a period of not less than two years or any shorter period as may be approved by the Minister.

“….provided that the time of arrival of a former resident who enters Zimbabwe as a visitor and does not depart from Zimbabwe shall be deemed to be the first occasion on which he imports any personal and household effects and other goods in terms of this section within three months from the grant of his permanent returning resident status,” reads part of the Statutory Instrument.

In relation to a former diplomat who remains in Zimbabwe to take up employment or permanent residence, they are granted the rebate on the first occasion they import any personal and household effects and other goods in terms of this section (S.I) within three months from the date granted his or her new employment permit or residence permit.


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