The Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has impounded and seized a truck for attempted smuggling of one of Zambia’s strategic minerals- Lithium.
The interception happened at the Kazungula One Stop Border Post (OSBP) by a team of ZRA officials in collaboration with the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development following investigations against a cartel of exporters misclassifying the export of valuable mineral products.
An export bound truck ferrying what was said to be Silica Sand was impounded at Kazungula Border Post for verification after a tip-off that it was carrying Lithium Ore. Samples were hence collected from the truck by a combined team of ZRA and Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development officers to verify the actual content of the mineral ferried by the truck.
The exporters declared exporting 29 tonnes of Silica Sands worth K18,600, when in fact the truck was carrying Lithium Ore of 1.71% worth K296,000.
As a result, the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development, has also charged a penalty of K90,000 on the exporter for false declaration of the export mineral.
The interception is as a result of enhanced vigilance in the monitoring of various mineral products that are exiting the country’s borders. The Authority would like to send a strong warning to all would be perpetrators of such crimes to desist as several measures have been put in place to identify such acts and will ensure that the offenders are brought to book.
The Authority working together with the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development has intensified its mineral quality and mineral valuation verification activities at the borders after noting that a number of mineral exporters have been presenting false samples when applying for Mineral Export Permits. This results in Export Permits for minerals with different quality and values to those finally exported. It is for this reason that samples, that are further subjected to testing at various Government and private Laboratories, are being collected at the point of export to verify the accuracy of declarations by mineral exporters.
This further exemplifies why the Authority keenly supports the announcement by the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development for the formation of the Minerals Regulator as it is anticipated that this institution will address the existing gaps in the mineral value chain monitoring and enforcement, that have continued to defraud the nation of the much-needed revenue from the mining sector.
Although smugglers keep evolving with new tricks, we shall not give up enforcement and we are also collaborating as government agencies through sharing of information which we are using to net offenders.
Zambia Revenue Authority, therefore, wishes to retaliate its commitment to fighting smuggling of all sorts and liberating Zambia from economic saboteurs engaging in illicit trade. The general public is encouraged to report to ZRA all questionable trade practices to enable ZRA create a level trading ground for all legitimate traders.
Lithium is among the minerals that have been classified as Strategy Minerals by the Government of the Republic of Zambia.
ZRA Corporate Communications Manager