News Column

8 000 Tonnes Sugar Bootleg Seized

July 11, 2014

Freeman Razemba



POLICE in Harare have bust a sugar smuggling syndicate and recovered over 8 000 tonnes worth thousands of dollars at two warehouses in the city's industrial area.

The 50kg bags of brown sugar, stored at Bak Storage and Manica Africa in Workington were reportedly bought from India and smuggled into the country in unclear circumstances.

The sugar was brought into the country with papers indicating that it was raw sugar and the owners would repackage it in 2kg bags for resale.

Two directors (names withheld) of a company called Grindsberg Investment Private Limited, trading as Oriental in the Workington industrial area, who are the owners of the sugar, were assisting police with investigations.

Officer Commanding Harare province Senior Assistant Commissioner Clemence Munoriarwa, yesterday said they were investigating to ascertain how the sugar was brought into Zimbabwe.

"We made a discovery of the large quantities of sugar and we are in the early stages of our investigations to know how it got into the country," he said. "We are also keen to see their import permits and other relevant documents."

Snr Asst Comm Munoriarwa said they wanted to know whether the owners had import licences from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce or not.

He said documents they seized revealed that the company was authorised by the ministry to import only 1 000 metric tonnes of sugar.

"We are querying why they would import such large quantities when the country is not facing sugar shortages and when their permit authorised them to import 1 000 metric tonnes only," he said.

Investigations have revealed that early this year, the owners of Grindsberg applied to Government to be issued with a permit in order to import 8 000 metric tonnes of sugar, but it was turned down. They were only allowed to import 1 000 metric tonnes, in terms of the law and were issued with a permit on April 15 and it will expire on July 17.

But the company directors imported over 8 000 metric tonnes of sugar, with the bags inscribed "raw sugar".

The sugar was smuggled into the country in more than 350 containers which were shipped by Manica Africa to the warehouses.


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Source: AllAfrica


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