As the government is struggling to control the illegal externalization of the country’s staple food, maize, it’s been established that the syndicate involves the head of the Malawi Police Service, Inspector General Lexten Kachama.
Kachama, has in the last two weeks demoted officers who impounded tens of trucks that were illegally exporting maize out of Malawi.
The impounded trucks include two that belong to Malawi’s top cop.
On 26th March this year, Police in Chitipa intercepted 17 trucks and arrested its drivers on suspicion of smuggling 270 tones of maize to the neighboring Zambia and Tanzania.
And two days later, on the 28th of March, Police in Karonga impounded 26 trucks that were hauling maize to Tanzania.
The truckloads were intercepted a day after President Peter Mutharika ordered the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) to ensure that maize and tobacco does not cross the borders of Malawi.
According to our investigations, Kachama’s trucks involved in the racket are; LL 6440 driven by Lemiton Chavula and LL 6255 driven by Madalitso Mgumba.
Each one of them was caught trying to smuggle out 300 bags of the staple food.
Both drivers confessed to Police investigators that the impounded maize and trucks belonged to the head of the Malawi Police Service.
The two 15 ton Man Diesel trucks were bought by Kachama about a year ago parked in his compound for several weeks before they were eventually registered in the name of his son in-law, Frank Banda.
Banda is married to Chikondi Kachama, daughter to the Inspector General of Police.
He operates business interests on behalf of Inspector General Kachama under the trade name; Kings Group.
Following the professional conduct of the Police in Karonga and Chitipa that saw some of Kachama’s trucks being impounded in what can be described as abuse of office, the Inspector General of Police has reacted by swiftly transferring and demoting all the leading officers involved in the impounding of the trucks.
We have established that the Officer In-Charge of Chitipa Police Station Snr Assistant Commissioner R.D. Mpeta who supervised the operation that saw the impounding of Kachama’s two trucks has been demoted and transferred to Kasungu Police Station as a Station Officer.
The Deputy Officer In-Charge at Chitipa Police in Assistant Commissioner Grey Chimphepo has also been demoted to a General Duties officer and immediately transferred to Zomba.
For supervising the impounding of trucks involved in this illegal trade in Karonga, Officer In-Charge at Karonga, Sekani Tembo has also been abruptly removed and posted to Nkhatabay with immediate effect.
Apart from Inspector General Kachama involved in this illegal trade, other impounded trucks include those of Rumphi Legislator Kamlepo Kalua and Mzimba Parliamentarian Harry Mkandawire.
Other companies involved in the smuggling include vehicles belonging to Almeida Transport, Farmers World and Export Trading Company, organizations that are largely owned by Asians.
According to border officials in both Karonga and Chitipa, the syndicate also involve smaller vehicles that transfer across the border the maize.
These vehicles includes; RU 5248 for victor Mhoni, MH 5753 for Johmerry Ndaisaba and MC 5432 belonging to Alefeyo Banda.
Malawi is said to be having huge stalks of maize this year and traders have been illegally exporting maize to foreign countries that have been hit by hunger.
The Malawi staple food is said to be selling well in Burundi at an equivalent of about K525 per kilogramme, South Sudan at K450. Prices are also said to be well in Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda at an average of about K277.
In Malawi, maize is currently selling around K250 per kilogramme. President Peter Mutharika has directed that all vehicles smuggling maize out of Malawi be impounded to avoid creating maize scarcity and hunger in the country.
Memories are still fresh in most Malawians when in 2001, Government was ill-advised by the IMF to sell its grain reserves to Kenya only to have the country buy yellow maize from the same Kenya at a much higher price the following growing season when famine struck. Many Malawians are reported to have died of hunger that year.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :