Fifteen (15) buses carrying suspected smuggled goods worth millions of dollars in import duty were impounded by law enforcement agents between Monday evening and Tuesday morning in Beitbridge.
The buses were intercepted at the Dulivhadzimu bus terminus and on the highways from Beitbridge to Bulawayo and Harare and other urban centres.
Bus crew members who spoke to Two Nations claimed that police officers and soldiers who intercepted the buses said that they were punishing the bus companies for getting their colleagues arrested.
Eighteen (18) uniformed officers were arrested by officers from the Anti-Corruption Unit at a roadblock outside Beitbridge on Saturday allegedly after receiving R2 000 bribe from a Sables Class Bus crew.
Mandeep Bus manager, John Marima, told Two Nations that the police officers who commandeered their busses to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) offices told them that the arrests were payback for getting their colleagues arrested. Said Marima:
They said they were arresting us because of Sable Class which reported their workmates and got them arrested for taking bribes.
We have passengers that are stranded with nothing to eat. This is bad for a professional police to be vindictive.
This move is to deter us from making negative reports against the police. After setting this example there is no bus that will report police again for bribe-taking.
The police will actually take bribes on a higher scale from now onwards.
The Chronicle reported that the buses were impounded by the National Security Taskforce.
The publication quoted Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi as saying the police will not hesitate to arrest those involved in smuggling. He said:
We will not hesitate to arrest anyone involved in crime, especially smuggling or corrupt activities.
Our targets are individuals, syndicates, security personnel, companies and transporters engaging in the illegal movement of goods across the borders.
We strongly advise anyone wishing to import or export goods through our borders to do so within the confines of the existing Customs and Excise laws.