ZAMBIA – An Anti-Smuggling Team in Ndola has intercepted two tipper trucks laden with over 1000 by 25kg of breakfast mealie meal suspected to be destined for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In a statement, Copperbelt Province Police commanding officer Peacewell Mweemba said the mealie meal was found with the trucks at a massamy garage owned by Baldwin Muhammad, a Somalian national, destined for smuggling to the neighboring nation.
Mr. Mweemba disclosed that no driver was found on the scene except for the security guard and efforts to get hold of the garage owner proved futile as his phone went unanswered.
Mweemba further revealed that some officers were left to safeguard the garage as the Police were working on establishing the owner of the trucks.
This comes after the recent move by the two governments to export one million tonnes of mealie meal from Zambia following the formalization of the trade mechanism put in place between the two nations.
According to President Hakainde Hichilema, the Congolese government has already made the first installment in advance through the bank 14. 5 million dollars which was deposited on Thursday, July 20th, 2023.
However, the president expressed concern noting that the country has been grappling with unstable mealie prices due to smuggling at the borders.
President Hakainde, however, assured Zambians that the government is committed to addressing the issue of smuggling which has continued to affect mealie meal prices.
Meanwhile, a team from the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) reported that, in line with the government’s effort to deal with smuggling, the team has arrested Mr. Muhammad, the garage owner, for trying to bribe police officers to leave his garage.
Mweemba confirmed that Muhammed enticed the police officers who were safeguarding the mealie meal at the garage with a sum of K20,000 per truck.
He said the suspect produced 15,000 Kwacha and tried to bribe Inspector Reagan Chibuye as part of payment and further promised that the rest of the money was going to be given to the officers later on.
Mr. Mweemba added that police managed to transport the mealie meal from the two Volvo trucks to the Correctional facility trucks and the same was delivered at Kansenshi Police Station where it is being kept as the police set up plans to interrogate the claimant of the mealie meal.
He further added that 1467 × 25kgs bags of mealie meal is what was moved from the trucks to the Kansenshi police station while efforts are being made to move the broken-down trucks to the police station.