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.