Car importers arrested after 'jumping' border

18 Sep 2013 06:50
GOBABIS, 18 SEP (NAMPA) - Three men were on Monday taken into custody after they attempted to evade Customs and Excise procedures at the Trans-Kalahari border post by speeding through the border and refusing to stop.
The trio returned from Botswana in three different sedans reportedly bought in that country, and failed to make the necessary clearances for their vehicles, opting to simply speed through the border post to avoid the process.
They apparently entered via the ‘exit’ passages of vehicles and people leaving Namibia, and faced oncoming traffic as they sped through.
Customs officials who were in close pursuit of the trio however failed catch up with them, and had to call on the assistance of the Namibian Police at Gobabis, who reacted swiftly by setting up a road block at the entrance of this town, at which the three were stopped and apprehended.
All three cars - Toyota Corolla sedans - have been impounded and are currently parked at the Gobabis Police Station.
It later emerged that the three men did not have proper import documentation for their vehicles; and as such opted to ‘jump’ the border to avoid detection.
Martins Matengu, the controller at the Trans-Kalahari border post, confirmed the incident to Nampa on Wednesday, noting that similar attempts by people to avoid Customs at the border were nothing new.
Matengu said many a time, car importers do not have the correct documentation supporting the buying of cars in Botswana, and would attempt different methods of avoiding detection.
“We are thankful to the police for the swift reaction and remain indebted to them. Such acts cannot be tolerated, as Customs and Excise officials are stationed at the border post for a purpose. Mind you, they did not even go through immigration, just sped through,” he said.
The three, who have since been charged with smuggling and fraud, are yet to make their initial court appearances.
The Trans-Kalahari border post is the most used point of entry for cars bought in Botswana, popularly referred to as “grey imports”.
In a bid to regulate the import of cheap used cars into the country, Government has placed a five-year moratorium on the import of all cars over five years old.
Cabinet has in the meantime recently approved the relaxation of that moratorium to allow all cars not older than eight years into the country, as opposed to the initial five-year restriction.
This, however, is still pending implementation.