Two Zimbabweans in court for smuggled cigarettes

RUNDU: Two Zimbabwean nationals, who were last week found in possession of 1 130 boxes containing cigarettes, appeared in the Rundu Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

The boxes containing cigarettes worth about N.dollars 11.3 million were impounded at the Divundu and Masivi road blocks of the Kavango East and West regions respectively on Thursday.

The cigarettes, which were destined for South Africa, are suspected to have been smuggled into Namibia, presumably to avoid paying sin tax.

The boxes were concealed underneath the two fuel tanker trucks with South African number plates.

The trucks are authorized to exclusively transport liquefied petroleum gas.

During their brief court appearance, Lyson Malangiza, 35 and Trust Marudza, 46, were informed of their rights to engage legal representation of their own choice by Rundu Magistrate Esme Molefe.

The accused persons were not asked to plead and their case was then postponed to 08 July 2015 for further police investigation.

The accused persons were charged with two counts each of contravening the Custom and Excise Act 20 of 1998, which is that of non-declaration of goods upon entering Namibia and the Prevention of Organised Crime Act 29 of 2004 of money laundering.

They were remanded in police custody until their next court appearance, but were informed of how to launch a bail application.

The breakthrough was made by Customs and Excise officials and the Namibian Police Force (NamPol), following a tip-off from members of the public.

The boxes of cigarettes are of the Kingdom and Sevilla brands, and were coming from Zimbabwe en-route to South Africa via Namibia.

Referred to as ‘cheap cigarettes’ on the social scene, these brands are just two of the many circulating amongst corner shops and on the streets of urban Southern Africa to meet the desire for nicotine, while the prices of established brands are increasing outside of the average person’s budget.