By Chimwemwe Mangazi:
Chibuku Products (CPL) has said it will lobby court authorities to mete out stiffer penalties on traders perpetrating the practice smuggling of liquor from Zambia.
This comes after the Mchinji Second Magistrate Court convicted and fined 17 people to pay a fine of K20, 000 each or in default spend three months in jail term for smuggling of beer.
CPL Human Resource and Corporate Affairs Manager, Gloria Zimba, said her company was dismayed with lenient fines would not deter would-be smugglers.
“The bonafide beer industries have lost 35 percent of sales volume to these smuggled beers. Government has lost revenue in terms of excise duty from over K200 million per month to under K90 million from the opaque beer industry.
“Industries have scaled down and retrenched to reduce cost of production, this is due to the suffocated market. The current economies of scale in terms of production cost cannot be sustained by the smothered market,” Zimba said.Advertisement
According to a police report, the convicts were arrested on March 11 2019 after they were found with over 70 jerry cans of Zambian brewed beer which is commonly known as Mafuta.
They were intercepted at a police checkpoint erected at Chimwala near Mwami Boarder.
Mchinji Police spokesperson, Kaitano Lubrino, said, following the arrest, the police engaged the office of environmental health and Malawi Bureau of Standards who certified that the beer was not fit for human consumption in Malawi.
The 17 pleaded guilty when they appeared before Second Grade Magistrate Governor Chiipanthenga to the charges of being found in possession of prohibited opaque beer and without license, which is in line with Section 72 (1) (i) of Liquor Act.