The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has intercepted five trucks loaded with 1,430 by 50kg of white maize valued at K107,250 which was about to be smuggled out of the country, FRA Marketing Manager, Mr. Mwansa Chamatete, has confirmed.
Mr Chamatete said 11 people had been detained by police in connection with the scam, including a person who police have profiled as an expert in breaking into warehouses located in Lusaka’s industrial area.
He said a combined team of security officers from Zambia Police, Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) and FRA acting on a tip-off laid ambush over the weekend and thwarted attempts by three different groups that almost succeeded in ferrying the maize out of the country.
Mr Chamatete said this yesterday in a statement issued by Food Reserve Agency public relations officer Daniel M’soka.
In the operation, Mr Chamatete said the first group to be intercepted had broken into one of the FRA sheds using keys and breaking locks.
“The police gave chase and fired when the group wanted to escape,” he said.
Mr Chamatete said the second group was found with fake FRA documents purporting to have genuinely bought maize from FRA, while the third group was illegally transshipping maize into a foreign registered truck.
He said according to FRA policy, no foreign registered truck or vessel or unregistered truck or vessel could carry FRA reserves.
Mr Chamatete said the five impounded trucks were parked at Central Police Station and at one of the FRA sheds in Lusaka.
“The FRA is currently administering a Special Maize Sales Programme for Millers under the Ministry of Agriculture meant to provide affordable mealie meal to the public. This program is meant for millers only and not traders,” he said.
Mr. Chamatete has appealed to the public to continue being very vigilant and report to FRA or Zambia Police any persons or suspicious movements of FRA maize.
Mr. Chamatete commended the public for their support in passing information to FRA on criminal acts targeted at the FRA reserves.