Maputo — The Mozambican Tax Authority (AT) announced on Monday that it has aborted an attempt to smuggle 2,100 boxes of frozen chickens and chicken derivatives into the country across the border with South Africa at Ressano Garcia.
Ressano Garcia is currently the only border post with South Africa that is still functioning, while South Africa is on lockdown and Mozambique is in a state of emergency to deal with the coronavirus crisis.
The AT statement said that the container truck holding the frozen chickens crossed the border at the access point reserved for vehicles with merchandise to be unloaded at the commercial border, four kilometres inside Mozambique.
But the truck's driver attempted to evade the commercial border, avoid customs clearance, and take the motorway straight to Maputo.
Agents of the Mozambican customs service intercepted the truck. They seized both the truck and its cargo, which they valued at about half a million rands (27,000 US dollars). Since the goods are of animal origin, they have been turned over to the Ministry of Agriculture. The truck will remain in the possession of Customs, until the tax procedures have been completed at the Customs Tribunal.
The AT points out that, to import this type of merchandise, the importer needs a certificate issued by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, stating that he can import a certain amount of chickens without damaging national poultry production. A certificate from the health authorities, showing that the goods are fit for human consumption is also required.
This was the first case of sizeable smuggling detected at the Ressano Garcia since the declaration of a state of emergency last week.