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Tobacco Commission, Police Intensify Anti-Smuggling Efforts… Confiscate Volumes of Tobacco in Mchinji

By Lovemore Khomo

The Tobacco Commission (TC) and Police have confiscated a significant quantity of flue-cured tobacco in the early hours of Friday, which was being transported in a two-tonne truck suspected to be en route to Zambia.

While Tobacco Commission Public Relations Officer Telephorus Chigwenembe confirmed the development, he did not provide further details about the exact volume of tobacco seized.

This follows the confiscation of another two-tonne truck carrying burley tobacco in Namitete on Thursday, May 16, 2024, believed to be headed for Mozambique.

“The Tobacco Commission and the Malawi Police are conducting an anti-illegal tobacco trade monitoring exercise in all three regions of the country,” said Chigwenembe.

Meanwhile, the Commission and the police also seized 447 kilograms of tobacco in Rumphi District on Thursday, belonging to Chisomo Zembani, who is suspected of buying the crop without a license.

The TC PRO added that four weeks ago, the police in Mchinji intercepted a truck carrying 48 bales of flue-cured tobacco, which was about to be smuggled out of the country. The tobacco was sold at Lilongwe Selling Floors under the Tobacco Commission’s registration number.

During the opening of this year’s tobacco selling season at Chinkhoma in Kasungu on April 15, State President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera lamented the illegal cross-border tobacco trade, noting that the practice denies the country of foreign exchange earnings.

As of May 10, up to 30 million kilograms of tobacco valued at $81 million had been sold at an average price of $2.70.

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