By Bennie Mundando
THE Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has seized 3,830 litres of cooking oil worth K999,708.54 which was allegedly smuggled into the country by HITVIK Trading Limited, a company whose warehouse is in Kafue.
ZRA Corporate Communications Manager Topsy Sikalinda has told The Scoop that the authority has sealed off the company’s warehouse situated at Sub 124, Farm 498A Shimabala in Kafue District for various suspected smuggling activities.
Mr. Sikalinda says the Authority has been monitoring the operations of HITVIK Trading Limited from September 29, 2020 for suspected conspiracy to defraud the state tax revenue through smuggling related offences that range from document falsification, false representation, and misclassification, thereby contravening the provisions of Sections 41(2) and 141 of the Customs and Excise Act of the laws of Zambia.
He says after gathering enough information, the Authority has decided to move in and seal off these premises and issued seizure notices for the cooking oil.
“HITVIK Trading Limited has 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 is it processed cooking oil.
“Cooking oil is a controlled substance in Zambia that requires import permits. This is one way to protect the local manufacturing sector and the farmers who grow inputs used in the production of cooking oil,” Mr. Sikalinda said.
He has urged businesses to adhere to the requirements of the law and avoid being found in such unfortunate situations.
“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.