ALERT police officers in Chingola have impounded a number of trucks laden with mealie meal and maize destined for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
This cartel of taking maize and mealie meal to the neighbouring country has led to an artificial shortage of Zambian stable food.
Both police and Chingola District Commissioner George Sichula confirmed the development to The Independent Observer this afternoon.
Mr Sichula said his Government had put a ban on maize and mealie meal exportation and police were only following the directive from Government.
He said his office expected compliance from the millers and the suppliers of the stable food which has become a rare commodity especially in Chingola.
“In Chingola the only bags of mealie meal available are 10 kilograms the rest go to either the Kasumbalesa border or Chililabombwe.
“Millers with their cartel are the ones that make the general public to speak evil of Government when my Government has offloaded enough maize to the millers.
Mr Sichula said the people of Chingola desperately needed mealie meal but the commodity was only available in less quantity.
He said only transporters with documents would be allowed to go to Chililabombwe.
The DC said it was surprising that all millers were taking their mealie meal to Chililabombwe and not Chingola or Kalulushi.
And Elliot Musonda the driver of Lusaka’s Mushe milling said he was carrying 1, 200 bags of 25kg of mealie meal to Chililabombwe.
Mr Musonda said his Scania truck ALD 4514 was impounded on Friday and he was still waiting for communication and documentation from his bosses in Lusaka.
Mr Lungu, however, warned that Government shall not tolerate any illegal exports of maize or maize products outside Zambia without proper documentation.
According to the news monitored on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation said that the decision followed consultations between Government and other stakeholders both locally and within the region.
He clarified that the move by Mr Sichinga was made in good faith as he had the power to execute such a decision in his ministerial capacity.
He said after consultations him as acting President rescinded the decision as it would be a serious disaster especially that most countries in the region had a deficit of maize and maize products.
He said Government realised that within the country and indeed in the entire region, there were some areas which had a serious deficit of maize and maize products such as bran.
"Government is currently working out modalities to facilitate the orderly and regulated export of maize and maize products.
"We should also respect existing contractual obligations between the Government and other Governments and indeed between the different players such as commercial entities involved in buying and selling of maize and maize products both locally and abroad,” he said.
Mr Lungu directed the Agriculture minister to sit in consultation with all stakeholders in the area of grain marketing such as traders, millers and transporters to come up with lasting solutions which would ensure the country had adequate stocks of maize and maize meal and at the same time continuing to engage commerce and trade both locally and internationally.
He said blacking out exports totally would be a recipe for disaster as countries like Tanzania, DRC and Zimbabwe were looking to Zambia for maize.
He commended law enforcement officers who worked tirelessly day and night to contain smuggling in the border areas of the Copperbelt, and other border areas where smuggling had recently turned into a menace.
MMD president Nevers Mumba who was by then the vice president in Levy Mwanawasa’s regime, was fired for holding a press conference while the president was out of the country.
In another development police in Kasama have impounded a vehicle that was carrying 13 Somalis suspected to be victims of human trafficking.
The officers apprehended the driver of a Toyota GX Land Cruiser of Kenyan origin and a mechanic from Kenya who had covered the 13 under a tent at a road block mounted between Kasama and Mansa.
Deputy Inspector General of police Solomon Jere who confirmed the development in an interview in Lusaka today, said all the 13 male victims were currently in police custody.
The driver of the tinted motor vehicle wanted to bribe the police by offering them KR22, 000 to allow for the passage of the trafficked men but police rejected the bribe and went ahead to arrest him and his mechanic.
Police recovered a loaded pistol with 24 rounds of ammunition and three pangas from the vehicle.
Dr Jere said it appeared the vehicle was coming from Tanzania and suspected it was headed for South Africa and that Zambia was only being used as a transit State.
Dr Jere praised the police for their vigilance and proved that not all officers were susceptible to bribes.
“I commend our officers for the good job they did otherwise that operation of moving people from one country to another would have succeeded. The police did a good job also by refusing to accept a bribe,” Dr Jere said.
He said one of the trafficked persons collapsed after police removed the tent that had covered them.
He assured that investigations into the matter had been launched and that Zambia would not be used as a transit point for human trafficking.