Namibian authorities are reported to have approved a proposal to auction at least 763 second-hand vehicles impounded in that country while destined for Zimbabwe.
The vehicles were seized after the owners failed to pay import duty or used fraudulent papers to clear the cars.
The proposal, which was recently approved at a Cabinet meeting, was made by the Ministry of Finance, media reports in that country said.
Namibia’s Ministry of Finance spokesperson, Tonateni Shidhudhu confirmed the seizure of the vehicles at the Port of Walvis Bay.
He said there were currently 763 impounded vehicles with another 132 cars already impounded the State after their owners failed to properly declare them at customs.
“We only made a distinction because the 763 have owners whilst the 132 are now in the hands of the government to be disposed to any buyers at an auction,” he said adding the 763 cars would be handed back to the owners upon payment of import duty.
“But if they fail to pay the duties and taxes, those vehicles will be disposed,” Shidhudhu is quoted saying.
He said since 2014, the Finance Ministry and the Directorate of Customs and Excises had been battling with cases of in-transit vehicles that were being illegally diverted into the country and registered with that country’s Namibia Traffic Information System (NATIS) before they were smuggled out of the country.
It is illegal in Namibia for one to import a vehicle that is older than five years.
Shidhudhu said the auction would create space in Namibia’s regions where the vehicles are being kept and also end public dissatisfaction over lack of action by the government to deal with the issue.
In July this year, President Emmerson Mnangagwa was in Namibia where he officially opened a donated land measuring 19,000 square meters for Zimbabwe to set up a dry port at the Walvis Bay, granting the country access to the sea.
The dry port is expected to process import and export formalities for Zimbabwean individuals and companies.