Mushindano maize smuggling  scandal deepens

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 12:15:10 +0000


By Bennie Mundando


IT IS Mushindano district commissioner Benson Ngabo who should be reprimanded and not party officials because he is the one involved in corrupt activities in the exportation of maize to DRC by hijacking the issuance of permits, PF in North-Western Province have demanded.

According to a letter addressed to PF secretary general Davies Mwila dated 14th February, 2017 which was jointly signed by provincial chairperson Emmanuel Chihili and acting secretary Charity Mulemena, the provincial leadership accused Mr. Ngabo of stating that senior party officials were smuggling the commodity to neighbouring DRC in order to cover up his sinister activities.

They contended that after Mr. Ngabo gave what they termed as a fake story to the Daily Nation, the leadership instituted an investigation to ascertain which officials were smuggling maize and that they only discovered that it was Mr. Ngabo himself who was facilitating the activity.

They said Mr. Ngabo had continued with his illegal activities even after being warned by President Edgar Lungu to stop it, saying after the export ban was lifted, Mr. Ngabo started demanding for exorbitant amounts from exporters just to put a signature on the permits as he was among the officials mandated to sign as a way of curbing the scourge.

They said that the DC had failed to name the officials whom he accused of smuggling maize and also refused to attend the meeting which was called for by the provincial minister, Richard Kapita, to substantiate his claims and have challenged the joint operations committee to come out clean on the matter as they allegedly backed the DC.

“The provincial joint operations committee should clearly state their position on this seemingly very big syndicate because Mr. Ngabo is bragging that he is being backed by the committee after censuring him for issuing documents to legalise the smuggling which was not backed by the law,” the three-page letter reads in part.

But sources within the party said Mr. Ngabo was being used as a scapegoat for exposing the underground activities by senior officials involved in the scandal.

“While it could be true that Mr. Ngabo may have been involved in smuggling maize out of the country, the biggest reason why the provincial executive has come out so strong on him is because what he said was true.

The two parties are at each other’s throat because they are involved in the same.

“This issue of smuggling is deep-rooted and it only takes people close to these individuals to know what the truth is. Party officials want to use the president to consolidate what they are doing while the DC is rushing to the media in the name of exposing the wrongs others are doing, yet he is also involved,” the source said.


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