The Department of Immigration in Katete on 3rd November, 2021 secured the convictions of two Zambian drivers.
The Department of Immigration Public Relations Officer, Namati Nshinka says among the convicted includes Funwel Banda aged 29 and Matias Phiri aged 35 who were arrested for the offence of aiding and abetting 40 undocumented Ethiopians, contrary to section 46 (1) (a) of the Immigration and Deportation Act No. 18 of 2010 of the Laws of Zambia.
Mr Nshinka ,in a statement issued to to the media, said the duo were handed over to Immigration by the Police on 15th October, 2021 after they were apprehended on 14th October, 2021 at Mudzime in Katete District, Eastern province.
“This was after the duo, together with Forty (40) undocumented Ethiopians were intercepted aboard a Toyota Granvia Registration No. ACJ 1101 and a Grand Hiace Registration number : ABZ 9445 alerted members of the community who were on a night vigil to curb the theft of cattle and other properties which were rife in the area,” he said.
The Public Relations Officer explained that the two Zambian drivers failed to provide a concise explanation for their movements, prompting the members of the community to inform the Police who later apprehended them, along with the Ethiopians.
“ The two convicts appeared before the Magistrate Court in Katete on 3rd November, 2021 and each was sentenced to pay a fine of K 60,000 or in default two years imprisonment with hard labour, “ he said.
The convicts were also charged with possession of money reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime contrary to section 71(1)(a) of the forfeiture of proceeds of crime Act No. 19 of 2010 of the Laws of Zambia.
They are scheduled to appear in Court on 15th November, 2021 for commencement of trial as they denied the charge.
The Toyota Granvia and Grand Hiace used to transport the Ethiopians have since were forfeited to the State.
Mr Nshinka has further disclosed that the number of convictions secured by the Department between 28th October, 2021 to 4th November, 2021 to Forty-Three 43.
“During this same period the Department also apprehended Four Hundred and Forty (440) persons for various immigration offences, removed One Hundred and Fifty-Nine (159) illegal immigrants from the country and refused Sixteen (16) foreign nationals’ entry into Zambia for failing to meet entry requirements,” he added.
Mr Nshinka noted with concern the trend where drivers of motor vehicles are being hired by traffickers and smugglers to transfer or transport illegal immigrants, mostly without the knowledge of the Motor Vehicle owners.
He said the convictions of the two drivers in Katete must serve as a warning to any driver harbouring similar ideas.
He advised Motor Vehicle owners to sensitize their drivers to avoid any such temptations because the owners too risk losing vehicles used in illegal activities to the state.