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Alba Iulia
Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Truckers install “Belly Tanks” to sneak fuel into Zambia

Economy Truckers install “Belly Tanks” to sneak fuel into Zambia

An installed Belly Tank
An installed Belly Tank

Some local and foreign truckers have devised ways to avoid paying the high fuel prices when crossing into Zambia by modifying their fuel tanks and fitting them with false belly tanks which are not connected to the vehicle fuel system.

Using the installed Scanners at most busy border points, the Zambia Revenue Authority was able to burst this scam leading to the detention of more than 60 trucks within a space of seven days.

Details are that the truck owners have installed false belly tanks meant to be used in smuggling fuel mainly petrol into the country without paying required taxes at the borders.

One of the companies whose trucks have been impounded is Capital Fisheries with the fuel being used internally for its operations.

The fuel commonly smuggled is petrol coming from Namibia and Mozambique and Zimbabwe that cost less than 10 Kwacha, 6 Kwacha lower compared to Zambia.

The belly tanks are not connected to the vehicle fuel system and the smuggled fuel is used by the involved companies for internal operations within Zambia.

ZRA Corporate Communications Manager Topsy Sikalinda told Journalists that all the 60 trucks were intercepted using installed scanners at the border posts following the discovery of the scam within one week.

“Seven of the trucks are so far detained at Katima Mulilo with five of those trucks already seized after customs officers recorded statements from the drivers while 23 trucks conducting a similar illegality have also been detained at Chanida border, Eastern Province” he said.

He also said that 30 trucks were detained at Chirundu border post on Friday where 15 of those trucks had been seized as they were carrying smuggled fuel while the other 15 had belly tanks without fuel and the drivers have since been instructed to remove the belly tanks before they can be set free.

“Each belly tank can carry over 1,800 litres of fuel adding that the 20 seized trucks detained at Katima mulilo and Chirundu border respectively had smuggled fuel worth over 576 thousand Kwacha” said Mr. Sikalinda.

The operation has covered Katima Mulilo, Chanida and Chirundu border posts.

Seven of the trucks are detained at Katima Mulilo with four already seized after customs officers recorded statements while 23 trucks conducting a similar illegality have also been impounded at Chanida border, Eastern Province.

A similar operation in Chirundu has seen 30 trucks impounded with 15 of found to have been illegally carrying fuel.

ZRA has valued the confiscated fuel five hundred and seventy six kwacha.

A fuel Belly tank
A fuel Belly tank

A Belly Tank
A Belly Tank


    • If fuel was cheaper in Zambia, they would be smuggling it across borders to be sold in neighboring Countries causing shortages locally!

      Meali meal is a perfect example of such a scenario. Crooks will be crooks, they will always look to cut corners no matter what.

      Fuel dynamics will always be different from Country to Country, that’s the reality. So, to expect fuel prices to be identical across the region (SADC) is rather silly. And such scams can NOT be tolerated because they deprive our Nation the much needed tax money (fuel tax) to fix the roads these same truckers want to use.

    • Ask yourself why should the same fuel which passes through Zambia to go to Zimbabwe be cheaper in Zimbabwe than Zambia? Taxes being collected so that a senior govtbofficer can receive it’s salary increment and drive expensive GRZ luxury SUVs at the expense of poor Zambians. Such a shame. I’m ashamed of having supported this administration it’s the same nonsense we saw during Rupiah regime. The late Great MCS is turning in his gravenat this betrayal.

    • Don’t support illegality mwe Bantu no wonder Zambia is at a standstill because Zambians support illegality. The same people would tell others that in such countries this is not condoned.No wonder workers have been squeeambia!! This will, in turn, reduce external borrowing. Manyengwe yayii bakwasu!!!Stealing is manyengwe, Stop it Well done and keep it ZRA. ZRA pay all these workers handsomely, the way it was when it was instituted as ZRA.

  1. If fuel price was cheaper in Zambia, they would not have resorted to such ideas. The next thing they will do is just connect the tank to fuel system of the vehicle and drain it when in Zambia.

    • Ba Beira!!!!!!!! how do you connect Petrol tank to a diesel powered engine. Let Govt just remove some taxes on fuel and make our fuel competitive. if the price is K1.1 who would smuggle?

    • Smuggling will not end, unless everyone, especially the opposition parties support the measures the government is putting in place. People who even protest against fees charged to offenders, example overspeeding. Many countries laugh at us, no wonder they migrate and cause havoc in Zambia and are protected by the Zambians, shame!!!ZRA please intensify this fight and protect the workers!!

  2. I don’t see any thing wrong with this. What are they breaking? Does coming with extra fuel mean one has broken the law?

    • Yes, its illegal and dangerous if its Zambian registered trucks …as much as I want to agree with them and against the high cost of fuel to cover this govt’s recklessness and inefficiencies the law is the law there are no two way about it. Its like those British tourists who return from Turkish holiday with big bags of cheap cigarettes and all they have to do prove to customs when clipped is that the 30 bricks of cigarettes are for own consumption. …this is the same international truckers are not smuggling they just need to prove that fuel is for their own consumption, international truckers need to lawyer up and take on ZRA.

  3. That’s our government for you, they want to such every ngwee from everyone by all means possible so they can pay back their recklessly borrowed loans and fund their lavish lifestyles. Meanwhile some schools, hospitals and roads are in bad shape.

  4. My Swiss wife and I have decided to start moving our investments to Botswana and Namibia. Zambia is finished

    • Who cares where she is from …why can’t you just say your wife ..who cares if she is a musungu…when she takes you to the cleaners and wipes you clean will you learn.

    • Jay Jay I told you that I don’t deal with pf cadres who masquerade as upnd like you. My wife is Swiss and it is my right to describe her as I feel fit. How does that affect you? Go and lick a live wire

    • Foreign trucks need to challenge ZRA …they are not smuggling anything if they are using the same fuel all they have to prove is if they installation is safe.

    • Sure ba Economist? Is this your sincere advice? I am shocked. May you are one of them doing this!! In their countries of origin, this is not condoned. Come on, its high time all Zambia regardless of your religion or political affiliation, to patriotic, not a party but for mother Zambia!! Keep it ZRA!!!!!

  5. If diesel trucks have got reserve tanks with petro then confiticate, but what is wrong with bringing spare fuel for the return leg ?

  6. Are those truckers illegally carrying fuel into Zambia for resale or for their use? If it is for their own use there’s no law that they are breaking.

  7. This is not a scam naimwe. I have also improvised extra tank to carry in the country gas from TZ or SA where its cheaper for my own consumption and sale if someone is stranded on the road so whats the problem. Ati we have discovered a scam – childish this is not a scam its initiative to avoid you fo.ools who want to exploit motorists and truckers for selfish gain – you *****s. I will always buy from SA and keep it in my extra tank than to be exploited by PF *****s who do not even know how painful it is to buy fuel in Zambia because they are rich from stealing the Zambian resources. Even planes dont fuel in Zambia and they dont want you to antogonise them over such rubbish. Mwabetole!!!
    You are a disaster!!!!!!!!

  8. So why is fuel way more expensive in zambia?
    Why can’t ERB or whoever is responsible for sourcing fuel get from the same source as these “smugglers”?


  9. Moving coffins…Zambia has become the import capital of Africa. Too lazy to make anything but quick to buy junk. If Zambia invested in the state of the art oil refinery in north-western province as planned by the Mwanawasa government, we would have been processing cheap oil from Angola.

  10. This is the result of DUNUNA BOMBA MWIBALA ECONOMICS.
    Nothing is straight forward anymore in Zambia under the Crooked n’gwan’gwazi led Pathetic Failure -(P.F) Government.

  11. The Government should allow companies that can afford to buy fuel outside the country do so but limit on the monthy quantities and that the imported fuel be transported in safe and recommended vesels like fuel tankers and drums not belly tanks that are risky. Forgive these truck owners. They wanted to reduce on fuel cost.

  12. I am a Namibian and I am thinking of importing and reselling Petroleum products down in Zambia. How is Zambia market? Can we put up large storage facilities for fuel there.

  13. @16..what products exactly..Oils,Coolants etc.if u are serious we can discuss and setup something..We can find market for oils

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