Cigarettes land Zimbabwean in prison

A 51-year-old Zimbabwean has been sentenced to four months imprisonment for cigarettes smuggling.

Makanyara Denhere, of House No. 63, Caledon Avenue, Hatfield in Harare, Zimbabwe, was last Tuesday convicted and sent to jail for four months by a Siavonga Magistrate Court.

He was facing one count of the offence of smuggling contrary to sections 149 and 155(1) and (2) of the Customs and Excise Act, Cap. 322 of the Laws of Zambia.

The particulars of the offence were that Denhere on 8 March, 2016 smuggled 12 boxes of Chelsea cigarettes valued at K19, 118.40, thereby, defrauding the Government of revenue in the sum of K90, 348.94.

The facts were that on 9 March, 2016, the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) in Chirundu searched a house in Gabon compound of Chirundu where a consignment of suspected smuggled cigarettes was believed to have been stored.

A total of 12 cartons of Chelsea cigarettes manufactured in Zimbabwe were discovered in the house and the owner of the house, a Mr. Conceptor Musa Phiri, then identified the now convict as the importer of the cigarettes.

Mr Phiri explained that Denhere had taken the consignment to the house for safe keeping.

The DEC officers then seized the cigarettes and detained Denhere and later handed her over, together with the cigarettes, to the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) for further investigations.

Upon investigations, the ZRA officers established that the said Chelsea cigarettes valued at K19,118.40 were indeed manufactured in Zimbabwe but did not bear the statutory cigarette stamps as evidence of payment of duty (import & excise) and taxes as required by law, thereby, evading paying a total duty and tax amount of K90, 348. 94.

The now convict was then charged and formerly arrested because she had no lawful justification for importing cigarettes without paying taxes as prescribed by law.

The presiding Magistrate, Victoria Chitulangoma, sentenced Denhere to a four month simple imprisonment effective March 9, 2016, the date on which she was arrested.

The court further ordered the forfeiture of the 12 cartons of Chelsea cigarettes to the State.

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