Maize smuggling rings smashed

 

A scam in which about 2,000 metric tonnes of maize were about to be smuggled out of the country through Chipata was smashed yesterday.

And in Mufulira,  police arrested two people and impounded two trucks loaded with a total of 1,000 x 25 kg bags of mealie-meal destined for Kasumbalesa border post in Bilanga area in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Meanwhile, State security in Lusaka yesterday intercepted maize from the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) which was repacked in readiness for smuggling. In all the incedents, the maize from FRA was procured at subsidized prices of K85 per 25 kg but is being sold at over K200 in neighbouring countries.

In Chipata, two trucks loaded with the bags of maize were intercepted at Chipata’s railway station where they were offloading the commodity onto the Zambia Railways wagons.

In Kitwe,  district commissioner Chanda Kabwe warned Olympic Milling and other milling companies in the district  to desist from engaging in illegal activities that might create an artificial shortage of the commodity.

Copperbelt Police chief Charity Katanga said the two trucks were impounded on Wednesday around 10:00 hours on the Sabina-Mufulira road and were detained at Kamuchanga police station.

She said the drivers of the two Volvo trucks have also been apprehended and were being questioned over their involvement in  suspected smuggling.

“I can confirm that two trucks carrying a total of 1,000 x 25kg bags of mealie-meal were impounded by the police on Wednesday, March 30, 2016 around 10 hours in the morning on Sabina-Mufulira road and the drivers of the two trucks have also been apprehended.

“The two trucks laden with mealie-meal were destined for Kasumbalesa border post with the DRC in a place called Bilanga,” Ms Katanga said.

And Mr Kabwe warned Olympic Milling and other milling companies in Kitwe to desist from engaging in illegal activities that might create an artificial shortage of the commodity.

Mr Kabwe issued the warning when he found Olympic Milling selling mealie-meal from a truck at its Chisokone market depot instead of selling the commodity from its retail outlet.

He said selling the commodity from the truck instead of the retail outlet raised many questions than answers.

“This is not good. Look, what are you doing here?  You are selling more than 600 x 25 kg bags of mealie to an individual who is loading in his Canter truck.

You don’t even know where he is going to sell this mealie-meal. Why can’t you take the mealie-meal in your retail outlet, instead of selling the commodity to individuals who are going to sell at an exorbitant price?

“If you are selling your mealie-meal in bulk to individuals who in turn are selling at an exorbitant price, then you are denting the image of the Government. Apart from that, you are also creating an artificial shortage.

Olympic Milling has been our good friend, but if you want to take advantage of our good friendship to do something else, then you will not have it easy,” Mr Kabwe said.

He advised milling companies in Kitwe to concentrate on their business, instead of working with politicians who were trying to create an impression that the Government had brought hunger in the country.

“If you want to be part of the cartel that wants to fight government by creating shortage of mealie-meal, then you will regret.

Bwana, am advising you to concentrate on your business, instead of joining politics because politics will leave you with bruises that may be very difficult to heal,” He said.

On Monday night around 21.00hours, Police in Kitwe apprehended four people and impounded a truck laden with more than 500x 25kilogrammes of mealie-meal which was suspected to be destined for smuggling to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

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