COMMENT: Police operation must expose all alcohol smugglers Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi

THE raid by Bulawayo police last Friday at a city warehouse where they seized smuggled alcohol worth more than US$100 000  could lead to a bigger scandal where established supermarkets and leisure spots are selling smuggled goods to unsuspecting customers.

The raid came two days after three suspected drug dealers, one of them an ex-police officer, were arrested in Bulawayo following a raid at their homes in Entumbane suburb.

Police recovered marijuana, alcohol, weight gain tablets and cough syrups among other illicit substances. They also found pipes, which are used to inhale drugs, skin-lightening creams and plastic sachets, which are used to package drugs.

We are happy that the police are casting their net wider in order to establish the warehouse’s chain of supply so that the culprits account for violating the country’s laws.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday said they will be working with relevant departments to ensure that everyone involved in the alcohol smuggling racket is brought to  account.

“In terms of suspicions of tax evasion, the police shall be working with Zimra, so that those who are engaged in illegal acts are accounted for. We are conducting investigations on which nightspots and liquor outlets were being supplied by this warehouse. During the course of this week we shall update the public as to who are these and more detailed information,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.


“We are investigating the cases of the confiscated alcohol, and also the fact that these guys are smuggling, and not following the set procedures. We want to find out whether it is confined to Bulawayo or to other places around the country.”

The smuggling of alcohol into the country could also contribute to the drug abuse problem that the city and indeed the country is presently facing.

Without proper checks, there is no guarantee that the smugglers are not bringing into the country counterfeit products likely to negatively affect public health.

It is believed that roughly 25 percent of all alcohol consumed around the world is illicit and health experts warn that drinking it can make one sick or even cause death.

There are countries known to produce counterfeit alcoholic beverages and package them in containers of popular brands.

Also, the smuggling of alcohol is affecting legitimate local businesses like African Distillers (Afdis) Limited whose market share continues to be strained by illicit products.

It would be greatly unfair to local law-abiding businesses if these illegal distributors of alcohol are allowed to thrive hence we commend the police operation while urging them to leave no stone unturned in arresting everyone involved in the smuggling racket.

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