THE police force has thrown its full weight behind efforts by the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) to fight the flourishing trade of substandard products, including used underwear.
Commissioner of Operations and Training of the Tanzania Police Force, Mr Paul Chagonja, told the 'Daily News' in Dar es Salaam that the force will cooperate with relevant authorities, including TBS, to ensure the operation against such trade is successful.
Mr Chagonja said dealers of substandard goods, used underpants and other inferior products "are dangerous like other criminals". He challenging TBS to furnish it with all relevant details to facilitate police intervention on the matter.
"We are aware of the efforts by TBS in catching dealers of inferior goods in the local market. Let me confirm that we are more than ready to cooperate with them towards realizing the intended outcome in taming these criminals," he said.
The move by the police force comes as the bureau is now busy chasing dealers of substandard products, including dealers of inferior used undergarments that are prohibited from being sold in the local market due to their health consequences.
TBS Senior Legal Officer Mr Baptista Bitaho told the 'Daily News' in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the bureau has now resorted to engaging the police force fully in dealing with the dealers of such prohibited products who have all along been defying orders to stop selling them.
For more than four months now, TBS and other authorities have been conducting a special campaign to hunt and eliminate sale of substandard used garments like socks, brassieres, vests and underpants.
A survey by this newspaper has established that some dealers have defied the order to stop and continued to sell the prohibited items.
According to Mr Bitaho, apart from engaging the police, the bureau will also initiate seminars for police officers on the nature of the problem and the specific law governing the importation of substandard products.
He said unlike in the past, arrested retailers will now be directly charged with possession of the restricted products and risk being fined between 50m/- and 100m/- or serve two years in jail or both.
"According to section 27 of the 2009 Act on the mentioned offices and General Notice Number 405 of 2009 Act, defaulters will be charged accordingly. We have already communicated officially with the Police Force on the implementation of the same," he said.
In an operation conducted yesterday by TBS and the police at different markets in the city, three dealers were seized with inferior undergarments while more than ten others escaped.
TBS Public Relations Officer Mrs Roida Andusamile said about five bales of inferior undergarments have so far been apprehended as efforts to search for more consignments are going on.