5 December 2012

Zambia: Kasumbalesa Shady Deals - Government to Crack Whip

COPPERBELT Permanent Secretary Stanfold Msichili says Government will enhance security measures to curb rampant illegal activities at Kasumbalesa Border Post which threaten public security.

Mr Msichili has also directed Chililabombwe acting District Commissioner, Frank Siatwinda, to establish how Congolese managed to set up a booming trading place on the Zambian soil where assorted wares were being sold.

He said the Government would find a lasting solution to combat rampant illegal activities which threatens public security and that there were plans to engage concerned parties from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

"The market has been built on our land because of its proximity to the trading area.

"It will not be easy to control the situation but Government is committed to finding a long-term solution. The acting DC should look at the Market Act which takes care of illegal activities," he said.

Mr Msichili was saddened that scrap metal from DRC, which was banned for export in that country, was being smuggled into Zambia and reloaded for onward transportation to South Africa.

"In my view, these issues should be addressed by the police, customs and immigration because we are allowing scrap metal to pass through the country. Let us tackle this issue of scrap metal smuggling," he said.

Earlier, Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) Kasumbalesa Border station manager Levy Simatimbe told Mr Msichili's delegation that illegal activities were rampant at the border with some Congolese traders at the controversial Open Market on the Zambian side selling the banned alcohol, 'Tujilijili'.

During the tour, Kasumbalesa police assistant superintendant Anthony Mphanza said the existence of the Bilanga Township, a few metres from the Zambian side where the population of foreigners was swelling posed a security threat.

The Bilanga Township may encroach the Zambian side because its population of foreigners was concentrating along the areas where there was potential for trading in essential basic commodities, like maize meal, cooking oil, sugar, timber, household items, among other items.

The meeting was attended by Third Infantry Brigade Commander Brigadier General Eddie Kasoma, provincial intelligence officer Wilfred Bwalya and senior officers from Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), police and immigration.

Mr Siatwinda said in an interview on the sidelines of the event that illegal trade in cement was becoming a huge public concern at the border.

"The Congolese freely come to Comesa Market at Kasumbalesa Border to sell and buy different items. They carry about 10 bags of 25 kilogrammes on a bicycle.

"In future, we want to see how to legalise business with DRC," he said.

Mr Siatwinda said on average, about five tonnes of cement was illegally sold to DRC everyday.

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