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Police officers in over maize smuggle

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Nine police officers in Karonga have been arrested on allegation that they have been receiving bribes from drivers and unscrupulous traders who have been smuggling maize out of the country.

The men in uniform were entrusted to man Kaporo and North Rukuru roadblocks to check against the illegal maize exports to East Africa but they instead side-stepped their mandate by receiving money from the illicit traders.

On Tuesday, the officers reportedly aided four trucks and three minibuses which were later intercepted by the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) at the Songwe border.

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When asked to confirm the arrests National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said his office had information about five officers only.

We have, however, verified with inside sources at the Karonga Police Station that seven of the suspected officers are in custody while two others have been recorded caution statements on the matter.

“Police management will not shield any officer who comes in conflict with the law, and if the courts find them guilty of the offences, it will be an automatic dismissal for them,” Kadadzera said.

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He, however, could not disclose the tonnage of the newly intercepted grain.

The development comes after The Daily Times in March reported of an alleged syndicate of people smuggling maize to Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Following the story, police in Karonga and Chitipa have in the past weeks impounded about 31 trucks in connection with the maize smuggling crimes.

As a way of enhancing security against the malpractice, President Peter Mutharika deployed MDF officers to man all the country’s border posts.

Commenting on the development, Lieutenant Wilned Chawinga of the MDF said the soldiers are leaving no stone unturned and that their presence has sanitised activities in the border posts.

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