NKWETO MFULA, Chingola
POLICE have busted another sophisticated mealie-meal smuggling channel, with the seizure of 519 bags of the commodity concealed in an acid tanker truck destined for Kasumbalesa border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
And the Grain Traders Association of Zambia (GTAZ) has started offloading the 245,000 tonnes of maize under a tripartite agreement with Food Reserve Agency (FRA) and Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ), which is expected to result in a reduction in the wholesale and retail prices of mealie-meal.
It is projected that the mealie-meal prices will reduce by between K10 and K15.
The acid tanker truck registration number ABT 9245 and ACR 2744 T registered under Global Freight Services Limited of Ndola was impounded by a team of Chingola police officers on Saturday after a tip-off from suspicious members of the public.
Copperbelt commissioner of police Charity Katanga said in an interview yesterday that police have arrested the driver identified as Amed Mohammed and his lorry-mate, Kennedy Selengati, for alleged smuggling.
“We have impounded a truck in Chingola in which 519 bags of mealie-meal were concealed. This follows a tip-off from the alert members of the public,” she said.
Chingola district commissioner Mary Chibesa commended the police for the quick action in intercepting the acid tanker and thwarting attempts to smuggle mealie-meal into the DRC.
“We commend police for their swift action to prevent the smuggling of hundreds of bags into DRC,” he said.
Mrs Chibesa called on police to bring to book those smuggling the staple food to ensure national food security.
Mealie-meal smugglers, encouraged by lucrative prices in the DRC, have heightened their activities despite the police intensifying their patrols and backed by Zambia National Service personnel.
Mealie-meal bought at an average of K100 for a 50kg bag in Zambia is said to fetch upto K400 in the DRC, which shares a vast border with Zambia.