Tobacco Commission (TC) has issued a stern warning to unlicensed traders who buy tobacco from farmers in Malawi and neighbouring countries to desist from the malpractice or face jail term.
A statement issued by the commission on Friday indicates that it is geared to enforce regulations stipulated in the Tobacco Industry Act of 2019.
“It is a crime to buy tobacco from growers/vendors without a buyer’s license according to section 67(1) and selling tobacco at premises other than the licensed tobacco floors, Section 78(1).
“It is also prohibited to export unprocessed tobacco without written permission from Tobacco Commission according to Section 96 (2) while importing tobacco grown outside Malawi and sell it on Malawi Tobacco Licensed Floor, is prohibited by Section 87 (1),” reads the statement in part.
In an interview, TC Chief Executive Officer, Kaisi Sadala, added that any person who contravenes the sections will be fined K10,000,000 and imprisonment for five years according to the law.
He further said to fully enforce the law they will be going around tobacco producing districts for inspection.
“The Commission will be undertaking field patrols across all parts of the country and anyone found doing such malpractices shall be prosecuted.
“We also would like to advise growers not to entertain any individual to use their premises for buying tobacco as it is against the law, and if found, the buyer, the seller, and also the owner of the premises shall be arrested and brought before the court,” Sadala said.