Government has unearthed a scam in which about 2,000 metric tonnes of Government subsidized maize was about to be smuggled out of the country.
The trucks which were loaded with the bags of maize were intercepted while offloading the maize onto ZRL, Zambia Railways Limited wagons at Chipata’s Railway Station yesterday in the morning.
According to Chipata District Commissioner, Kalunga Zulu, who led the taskforce that was formed to curb the smuggling of maize and maize products, the trucks carrying 3,950 by 50 kilogramme bags of maize was destined for exportation.
Mr Zulu explained that the maize from FRA, the Food Reserve Agency was purchased at a subsidized price by Zambia Cooperative Federation and was supposed to be milled for local consumption at the cost of 60 Kwacha per 25 kilogram bag.
Mr Zulu says the maize should have been taken to solar milling plants but was diverted to the Zambia Railways, a move which he described as lack of patriotism.
An officer from ZRL was at pains to explain how he allowed the maize to be loaded on the wagons yet the Ministry of Agriculture had not issued an export permit.
And Police Provincial Criminal Investigative Officer, Christopher Kanema also confirmed the incident adding that authorities at ZRL were ordered to remove all the bags that were loaded on the wagons.
Mr. Kanema says that the owner of the company, which was about to export the maize Alliance Capital from Lusaka is in police custody while investigations are underway.
He stated that police discovered that the owner of the maize had no export permit, conveyance and Fito Cintire documents.
The maize will be kept at the FRA sheds in Chipata until investigations are concluded.