Malawi Defense Force (MDF) have vehemently denied report that two of i ts soldiers from Chilumba Barack escorted a truck that was smuggling maize to Tanzania through Karonga-Songwe border road.
The truck registration number RU 4725 was impounded by the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) officials at Kaporo roadblock on 26 April, 2017 at night after beating almost four other roadblocks.
One of the police who were at the roadblock told Nyasa Times that the two soldiers who were using MDF vehicle (Land Cruiser) managed to cross other roadblocks with a help from the district senior police officers.
“The two MDF soldiers connive with our seniors at Karonga district. The truck and maize were belonging to a certain business tycoon from the district. We failed to confiscate it because our bosses were involved,” said the police officer.
Nyasa Times also understand that the verbal war erupted between the MRA officials and two soldiers at Kaporo roadblock when they impounded the truck as the soldiers were arguing that issues of maize are in their hands as instructed by the country’s President.
However, MDF spokesperson Wilned Chawinga said the owner of the maize, Obo Mwakatundu from Karonga had valid documents.
According to Chawinga, Mwakatundu went to Chilumba Barack because he knows that the soldiers are the one who handles maize issues.
“The owner of the maize has a warehouse around the Songwe border and he was taking it there not to Tanzania. He went to Chilumba Barack to inform the soldiers that he transferring the said maize to his warehouse,” said Chawinga.
“Chilumba Barracks sought guidance on the matter from 94 Brigade Commander who allowed Mwakatundu to transport his maize to Songwe Border owing to the valid documents. Thereafter, the military escorted the maize to Kaporo Roadblock to present the issue to MRA [Malawi Revenue Authority] officials who gave Mwakatundu a seal. That seal was broken by MRA officials at Songwe and the maize was taken into Mwakatundu’s warehouse.
“MDF soldiers have never been involved in illegal externalisation of maize but there have been times when MDF [soldiers] escort maize to a nearest MRA point for authentication. We want to assure all Malawians that the MDF will continue conducting its activities within the guidelines that govern this operation,” Chawinga said.
However, some business personnel who their trucks were impounded by the police between the March and April this year said the maize were in the process to go to Tanzania.
According to them, the MDF soldiers together with the police have been confiscating all trucks of maize that is going or it is within the district since the Presidential order, despite the owners having the said valid documents.
“How special is this business tycoon for the soldiers to escort him? We also have warehouses around the border but our trucks were impounded. May if they tell us that they have changed their style,” said the vendors.
Adding that “the law enforcers were impounding maize even in our warehouses apart from those in trucks. Fair play is need in handling this issues.”
MRA Head of Cooperate Affairs, Steven Kapoloma while confirming that the said truck is own their hands, he said the owner has valid documents.
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