Truckers invent belly tanks to sneak cheap fuel into Zambia

By JOHN SAKALA
The high fuel prices has made truckers at various border posts to improvise a belly tank to their trucks to sneak into Zambia cheap fuel from other countries.

Business players are also digging deep into ways of beating existing legal frameworks.

One such system is the modification of fuel tanks some Zambian Truck owners where the trucks have been fitted with false belly tanks which are not connected to the vehicle fuel system.

With installed scanners at most busy border points, The Zambia Revenue Authority has managed to burst a lucrative system leading to the detention of more than 60 trucks within a space of seven days.

The trucks owners had installed false belly tanks meant to be used in smuggling fuel mainly petrol into the country without paying required taxes at the borders.

The fuel commonly smuggled is petrol coming from Namibia and Mozambique and Zimbabwe that cost less than 10 Kwacha a litre.

That price per litre is lower 6 Kwacha on a litre of petrol in Zambia.

The belly tanks are not connected to the vehicle fuel system and the smuggled fuel is used 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 said that 30 trucks were detained at Chirundu border post yesterday 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.

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The Independent Observer

John Sakala is a Journalist yearning for independent journalism

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