Beitbridge- A Top Government official has been linked to a syndicate that is smuggling cigarettes into the neighbouring country of South Africa via the Limpopo River, TST can report.
The illicit deals are reportedly costing the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) almost 99 percent in revenue income through the smuggling of cigarettes into South Africa.
The Top Government official is Vice president Kembo Muhadi who is allegedly giving protection to smugglers and sponsors the transportation of the cigarettes.
An official working at the Beitbridge border post said the syndicate is untouchable and any attempt to arrest the team will result in dismissal or in a re-post to another border post.
“This problem started long time ago during President Mugabe’s time and it has since worsened when he became the Vice President and it also involves other politicians and Top Government Officials.” said the source.
In an investigation by TSTnews it has been established that the illicit deals involve security forces who are allegedly dealing with other South African officials to smuggle the golden leaf into the neighbouring country.
The most popular brands being smuggled include Remington Gold and Pacific which are on high demand in South Africa and with the smuggling rate it shows huge amounts of money are involved.
TSTnews, is also reliably informed that brands like Madison and Everest are also being smuggled into Zimbabwe by trucks from South Africa as they are no longer being manufactured locally.
“There is also a syndicate that transports cigarettes from South Africa into Zimbabwe using trucks,” said the source.
“The issue of tobacco cigarettes smuggling is a very serious issue here in Beitbridge as the police are being paid not to investigate the illicit deal,” the source added.
“Most of the dealers that are operating here are the relatives of Kembo Mohadi so they are untouchable,” he said