Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo says 56 people have been arrested for smuggling maize and mealie-meal into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) during joint operations by police and Zambia National Service (ZNS).

And Kampyongo says of the 56 arrested, 36 have already appeared in court, while police are still investigating 20 other cases involving commodity smuggling.

Kampyongo said this in Parliament, Friday, when he responded to a written question from Chifubu PF member of parliament Frank Ng’ambi, who wanted to know what measures government was taking to curb maize and mealie-meal smuggling from Copperbelt towns into the DRC.

“To curb smuggling of maize and mealie-meal from Copperbelt towns into the Democratic Republic of Congo, the government has instituted joint operations between the Zambia Police Service and the Zambian National Service. The joint operations are still going on in all the border towns of the Copperbelt. The joint operations have been very effective and successful in that, 56 people have so far been arrested during these operations. About 36 of the 56 have appeared before the courts of law and 30 convictions have been secured, while six cases are still pending. The other 20 cases are still under investigations by the Zambia Police Service,” Kampyongo responded.

He said the arrests had sent a warning to would-be offenders.

“The arrests have helped reduce the volumes of maize and mealie-meal smuggled out of the country. The arrests have also sent a strong warning to the would-be smugglers,” said Kampyongo.