Mozambique Tax Authority Seizes 20,000 Cell Phones
The Mozambique Tax Authority (AT) recently seized 20,000 cell phones that were being smuggled into the southern African country. The phones were concealed in 250 disguised boxes wrapped in green plastic. According to reports, the cell phones were intercepted as they were leaving a warehouse. The reasons for seizing the illegal goods were the lack of import documents, false declarations, and under-invoicing.
The AT Head of Customs Operations Gimo Jona addressed the matter at a press conference Monday, May 9th. “The merchandise was leaving a warehouse and our inspection team intercepted the vehicle and demanded to see the documentation,” said Jona. “But the importer did not possess any documents.
There were various signs that these were smuggled products. We don’t know where the goods came from, or how they entered the country, whether by land, sea, or air,” he added. The AT made it clear that it is aware of who the contraband belongs to and has instituted legal proceedings against them.
Jona indicated that this was not the first major incident involving smuggled goods. Earlier this year, the AT had seized 50 luxury vehicles for various import irregularities. Of the 50 vehicles, the owners of 16 vehicles had managed to resolve their customs issues, paying the required duties amounting to 756,000 Mozambican meticais, which is approximately $11,000 USD.
Fight against smuggling by Mozambique Tax Authority
The Mozambique Tax Authority has faced challenges with smuggling. Contraband such as alcoholic beverages, food, and other goods have made their way into Mozambique at the expense of the country. The tax authority reports that it has lost more than three million meticais ($47.000 USD) that could be going into the state’s financial reserves.
Mozambique, a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), is located in south-eastern Africa. It shares borders with South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, and Tanzania.
The country is accessible via road, air, and ocean, covering almost a third of East Africa’s coastline. It hosts several deep-water coasts with cargo terminals and warehouses. This means it is strategically placed to allow the transportation of goods to its neighbors. According to reports, 70% of the goods entering Mozambique are in transit to other SADC countries.
The fact that Mozambique is strategically placed for the transportation of goods means it is a location ripe for smuggling. One of the challenges Mozambique faces is the prevention of smuggling, leading to illicit trading and the loss of state revenue.
In 2021, the Mozambican government launched the Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) as a means to improve the supervision of goods in transit, promote legal cross border and regional trading, and reduce smuggling. The system is a step in the right direction concerning preventing smuggling but looking at the recent incidents, more work is still to be done.