ZAMBIA:3 more maize-laden trucks impounded

truck_loaded.jpgTHREE more trucks laden with maize were impounded in Chingola yesterday and district authorities suspect that a highly-organised cartel is behind the smuggling of maize and mealie meal.

District Commissioner, Tobias Maliti said yesterday three more trucks
destined for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were impounded,
bringing the number of trucks seized to 21 in 48 hours.

Mr Maliti, who is chairperson of the newly-formed task force on mealie
meal and maize, said the trucks impounded did not have all the valid
documents although the drivers claimed to have been transporting maize
from Tanzania to the DRC.

Mr Maliti said it was surprising that the only documents produced were
the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) clearance certificates.

Mr Maliti said the owner of the maize was supposed to have seven
documents on hand, namely, the transit permit, import and export
permit, Government general receipt issued by the Ministry of
Agriculture and Cooperatives (Maco) permanent secretary in Lusaka, the
phytosanitary certificate and plant (seed) protection and ZRA clearance

He said the drivers of the trucks failed to produce all the necessary
documents and suspected that there was a highly-organised cartel of
smuggling maize and mealie meal into the DRC.

Mr Maliti also said there was no documentation to show that the truck
drivers had entered and left Tanzania where they allegedly got the
maize from.

When contacted, ZRA commissioner-general, Chriticles Mwansa said he was
waiting for a full report from his officers at Kasumbalesa and Nakonde
to ascertain what had transpired.

I can't comment on the matter before I see a full report from the
officers at the border posts. They could be fake documents or date
stamps but we need to verify that, Mr Mwansa said.

And Copperbelt police chief, Antoneil Mutentwa said, according to the
documents availed to police, the origin of the cargo needed to be
verified and the police had instituted investigations.

He said the police and Maco were investigating the matter though his office was told the trucks were cleared by ZRA.

Mr Mutentwa said if the trucks were properly cleared, they were supposed to have the rest of the documents.

On Tuesday, the Chingola mealie meal and maize task-force committee
comprising police officers, officers from the DC's office and the
office of the president impounded 18 trucks carrying maize destined for
the DRC.

TIMES of Zambia

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