By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
THE Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has seized 3,830 litres of cooking oil in Kafue worth close to K1 million suspected to have been imported using forged permits from the Ministry of Agriculture .
ZRA has thus sealed off the warehouse where the cooking oil worth K999,708.54 was stored after it was smuggled into the country by Hitvik Trading Limited.
The warehouse is situated at Sub 124, Farm 498A Shimabala in Kafue.
According to ZRA findings, the company had been using the warehouse to conduct various suspected smuggling activities.
Hitvik Trading Limited had been importing bulk cooking oil using suspected forged import permits from the Ministry of Agriculture and declaring the commodity as crude oil when in fact it was processed cooking oil.
This is according to ZRA Corporate Communications Manager, Topsy Sikalinda.
Mr Sikalinda said ZRA had been monitoring the operations of the firm from last month for suspected conspiracy to defraud the state tax revenue through smuggling.
The offences, he explained, ranged from document falsification, false representation and misclassification, therefore contravening the provisions of the Customs and Excise Act of the laws of Zambia.
“After gathering enough information, the authority has decided to move in a seal off these premises and issued seizure notices for the cooking oil,” Mr Sikalinda told Journalists yesterday in Kafue.
Mr Sikalinda said cooking oil was a controlled substance in Zambia that required import permits, as one way of protecting the local manufacturing sector and the farmers who grew inputs used in the production of cooking oil.
“To those that are evading tax or contemplating doing dubious activities, our warning to them is to stop immediately and start complying.
“The authority will definitely catch up with them and take all measures to collect taxes, penalties and interest due, while smugglers will also be taken to court for possible custodial sentencing,” he said.
Mr Sikalinda encouraged members of the public to report any suspected smuggling case to protect Zambia’s revenue.
By BUUMBA CHIMBULU