GOVERNMENT officials and Patriotic Front (PF) members who will be caught smuggling mealie-meal and maize to neighbouring countries shall not be protected, Home Affairs Minister Davis Mwila has said.
He was speaking yesterday when he paid a courtesy call on Kitwe district commissioner Chanda Kabwe.
And Mr Kabwe said police have in the last two months managed to impound 21 trucks carrying mealie-meal suspected to be destined for Kasumbalesa border post for smuggling into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Mr Mwila said police had been working tirelessly to curb the smuggling of mealie-meal into neighbouring countries which had contributed to the artificial shortage of the commodity.
He said no PF cadre or Government official would be protected or shielded if found to be involved in the smuggling of mealie-meal into the DRC.
Mr Mwila said smuggling of mealie-meal or maize into other countries was against the Government policy of promoting food security in the country.
He said any person found involved in such vices should face the wrath of the law.
“The police should operate independently without fearing anybody. If a PF cadre or Government minister is involved in smuggling of mealie-meal, he or she should be dealt with regardless of their position in society.
‘‘Smuggling of mealie-meal creates an artificial shortage of mealie-meal, hence individuals involved in such vices or illegal businesses must face the law,” Mr Mwila said.
And Mr Kabwe said the police, working with patriotic and responsible Zambians, had in the last two months impounded 21 trucks carrying mealie-meal suspected to be destined to Kasumbalesa for smuggling into the DRC.
He said following police vigilance to ensure that selfish and unscrupulous businessmen did not succeed in smuggling mealie-meal into the DRC, Kitwe had enough stocks of mealie-meal which people were buying without any problems.
“Police in the district have been working hard to curb smuggling of mealie-meal into the DRC. I can report to you that in the last two months, from the time we experienced a shortage of mealie-meal, police have impounded 21 trucks carrying mealie-meal which was suspected to be destined to the DRC for smuggling,” Mr Kabwe said.
On April 7, 2016, police in Ndola apprehended a 50-year-old female Congolese national of Sakania area and impounded a truck laden with more than 150 x 25 kg of assorted mealie meal brands headed for DRC.
In the last two months, police on the Copperbelt have impounded more than five trucks laden with mealie-meal destined for Kasumbalesa border post.
On March 28, Kitwe police arrested four people and impounded a truck laden with more than 500 x 25 kg bags of mealie-meal destined for Kasumbalesa border post.
On March 30, police in Mufulira arrested two people and impounded two trucks loaded with a total of 1,000 x 25 kg bags of assorted mealie-meal brands destined for Bilanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
On April 23, police in Kitwe recovered 250 x 25kg of mealie-meal on the Kitwe-Chingola dual carriage-way near the Chingola road cemetery.
Three days later, a truck laden with 1,000 x 25 kg bags of Chimanga Changa mealie-meal was impounded at one of the shops in Chimwemwe township in Kitwe.