Although overall crime in the Zambezi region has been described as “controllable”, smuggling of illicit goods through ungazetted entry points remains a thorn in the flesh for law enforcement.
Customs and excise for the northeastern regions has indicated the smuggling of goods has cost government revenue in millions of dollars from dutiable goods.
Notably, cigarettes and alcohol smuggling is a worldwide predicament and Namibia is not an exception.
These illegitimate activities by some unscrupulous business people deprive the Namibian nation of much-needed revenue in respect of non-payment of excise duties.
Zambezi governor Lawrence Sampofu, in his state of the region address, said the theft of all types and smuggling of goods through ungazetted points are among the top 10 prevalent crimes.
“The porousness of our borderline remains a major contributing factor to revenue leakage and importation of illicit goods. Even while the Covid-19 regulations were in force, both Namibian and foreign nationals continued to smuggle goods across the local rivers leading to numerous arrests and seizures of goods,” he reported.
The directorate of customs and excise continue to caution that illicit goods do not only affect government coffers but also have the potential to adversely affect people’s health
During 2019/20, the customs and excise directorate in the Zambezi region collected revenue in excess of N$88 million.
The increase in revenue is a result of the deepening of the Walvis Bay harbour, which has enabled the border posts in Zambezi to experience a positive increase.
The region’s border posts also had an increase of 70% trade statistics in commercial vehicles entering and leaving Namibia through the Katima Mulilo border post.
Equally, he highlighted crime such as housebreaking and theft, rape, poaching, assault of all types, dealing and possession of cannabis, stock theft, reckless and negligent driving, domestic violence, incidences of armed robbery, murder and suicide do occur but not often.
Due to intensified crime prevention, operations, community meetings and investigations, Sampofu said law and order has been maintained through joint crime prevention and police led operations.
These operations encompass the “Namib Desert”, national Covid-19 lockdowns, and Interpol operation called “Thunder 2020”.
These operations, Sampofu said, led to the arrest of illegal migrants, confiscation of illegal products and drugs smuggled into the country.
Statistics show that in 2020/21, crime rate increased from 3 488 cases to 5 424 cases. According to the clearance rate data, the 2018/19 clearance rate was 32%, whereas for 2019/2020 it was 23%.
The clearance rate for 2020/2021 dropped to 16.37%, which shows a reduction of 6.63% as compared to the 2019/2020 financial year.