Saturday, June 15, 2024

Police seize about 2,400 bags of mealie meal believed to be destined for smuggling to DRC

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Police on the Copperbelt have seized about 2,400 bags of mealie meal at a house in Mufulira believed to be destined for smuggling to neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

A shortage of mealie meal has hit the Copperbelt Province in recent weeks – thereby pushing the price of the staple commodity to over K200 per 25 kg.

Copperbelt Police Commanding Officer Peacewell Mweemba has confirmed that three women have been detained by Police in connection with the alleged curtailed smuggling of mealie meal.

Mr. Mweemba identified the suspects as Hellen Chongo aged 41 of House Number 41 Zambia Compound Mokambo, Vinet Mulenga 39 of House Number 30 Chitimukulu and Maureen Miyandwe 39 of House Number 229 Zambia Compound Mokambo.

Police have opened investigations into the matter as they keep the seized mealie meal at a police station.

“Assembling for the purpose of smuggling occurred on 18.2.23 at around 12:00hrs in Mufulira town in which police received information from members of the public that unknown number of people had assembled at house number 61 Kombe Street, with unknown number of bags of mealie meal, and are about to smuggle the same into the DR Congo. A follow-up was made by the officers to the said house where they found about 1200 bags of mealie meal X 25 kgs in Mataba and Olympic milling brands holed in the garage. Another consignment of about 1200 was ground loaded onto a Fuso fighter truck registration number ALE 2049, which was found parked inside the yard,” Mr. Mweemba said.

“The following suspects were apprehended and are now in police custody: 1. Female Hellen Chongo aged 41 of House Number 41 Zambia Compound Mokambo, 2. Female Vinet Mulenga 39 of house number 30 Chitimukulu and 3. Female Maureen Miyandwe 39 of House Number 229 Zambia Compound Mokambo. A Docket opened, mealie meal kept at the police, and investigations instituted. More to follow,” Mr. Mweemba said.

Meanwhile, the Copperbelt Police boss has confirmed the shooting of two women on the Chingola/ Kitwe Road by a truck driver, who was reportedly attacked by thieves.

Mr. Mweemba said a truck driver identified as Trust Sakala aged 56 of Kanyama West in Lusaka allegedly shot two women with a gun as he was scaring away criminals who jumped on his truck in Chambishi.

He said one of the victims, Treazer Kamwendo Malichi aged 37 of Zambia Compound in Chambishi was wounded on the leg while Getrude Chilumba aged 27 sustained a gunshot wound below her left shoulder.

The two victims run a restaurant located in Chambishi not very far from the Chingola/Kitwe Road.

“Shooting Incident/Unlawful Wounding occurred on 21/02/23 around 11:30hrs along CCS Road near Puma Filling Station Chambishi, in which an anonymous call was received that two female persons were shot and injured after a truck driver fired gunshots and that victim’s had been rushed to Chambishi Govt Clinic,” Mr. Mweemba said.

“Brief facts of the matter are that there are Booths and Makeshift Restaurants alongside CCS Road near Puma Filling Station. Along this road criminals usually jump onto trucks to steal whatever cargo or goods whenever trucks stop or slow down. Today at around 12:30 hrs, a truck driver namely:- Male Trust Sakala aged 56 of House No 108/75 Kanyama West Lusaka, driving a FreightLiner Truck and Trailer registration No ALE 4791 and ABZ 9111T for AM Transport Company, towards CCS from Kitwe-Chingola road stopped along the road to pick his fellow driver who was going to CCS. Immediately a group of unknown criminals jumped onto the trailer and started pulling the tents. He tried to stop them but criminals started throwing stones at him. It was at this point that the driver got his pistol and fired several shots towards the group to scare them. The group then ran away,” Mr. Mweemba said.

“However, it was discovered that two females who were in one of the makeshift restaurants in the same direction as the criminals selling food were shot and injured. These are:-1) Female Treazer Kamwendo Malichi aged 37 of House No B- 282 Kabanda Area Zambia Compound in Chambishi, a business lady, who sustained a gunshot wound on the knee of her left leg and 2) F/Gertrude Chilumba aged 27 of the above address (B 282) who sustained a gunshot wound below her left shoulder. Police rushed to the clinic and found victims being attended to and later referred to Kitwe Teaching Hospital. ZP Form 32 issued. Condition for both stable. The truck driver has been detained in police custody and the pistol namely; Cal. Luger, serial No C6878 with 13 rounds recovered,” he stated.

11 COMMENTS

  1. If people had lucrative business in Congo D R let them do business. Mu Zambia namo, ifilifye simple!!
    This is great opportunity that we can take advantage of and support our farmers to grow enough maize for export. Politicians, both now and in the past have exploited our farmers by buying maize cheaply from FRA for export. to neighboring countries like Zimbabwe and Congo D R, you think we don’t know all your dirty deals.

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  2. The police should have waited for the suspects to go into action before impounding the commodity. As it’s the case cannot stand in a decent court.

  3. But didn’t agriculture minister say we have enough stocks and people are free to export. Besides what proof is there that they want to export. Maybe they were just buying to sell. It’s not a crime to buy and keep mealie meal with intent to sell even at a later date for better price. This case is going nowhere.

  4. Deja Vu and Razor, you are both right. Firstly, is there such a crime as assembling to smuggle? How is it smuggling if you keep a million bags at your house? Secondly, didn’t the government carelessly allow the export of maize foregoing the food security of the country?
    This is what happens when your approach to everything is purely business.

  5. But where exactly is the crime? Just wasting tax payers money, the case will be dismissed in court. How do you charge people for hoarding mealie meal? Then you must do the same to commercial farmers and millers who also hoard maize until prices go up. And if they want to export how do you know they where not going to get export licenses? Are export licenses only for rich musungu farmers, millers and politicians? This is the kind of nonsense we got tired of under PF.

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