MRA chases, arrests driver with 68 bags of ‘chamba’


Driver Noel Banda may have thought he was pulling a fast escape when he crashed through a special road block set up by Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and police officers near Madisi in Dowa at around 1am last Thursday.

But it took only a few minutes for him to realise that his game was almost over, as the officers jumped into their vehicle and gave chase to his Toyota Dyna van registration BLK 4690.

Police intercept chamba transporters in this file photograph

After a five-kilometre chase, the officers had cornered Banda to a stop. When Banda initially responded that he was carrying stationery from Mzuzu to Lilongwe, the officers expressed reservations even before they inspected the load locked away in the van.

That is how the officers found, and impounded, 68 bags of suspected Indian hemp (chamba). There was no stationery found.

MRA, which sets up such patrols based on intelligence information that illicit goods are transported in the wee hours of the night in certain ‘porous’ areas, handed over the suspected chamba to  Lilongwe Police Station on Monday morning.

Lilongwe Police Station spokesperson Kingsley Dandaula said samples of the haul will be sent to Chitedze Research Station for analysis before a charge can be pressed against Banda, who is being kept at the station’s cells.

Dandaula praised MRA for their innovative special patrols nationwide which he said are helping the Malawi Police Service (MPS) in clamping down on criminal activities.

MRA head of corporate affairs Steve Kapoloma yesterday saluted the police for helping his organisation to put a stop to the movement of illicit goods.

“Our special patrols, which also target border areas where Indian hemp and other drugs may be easily moved in or outside Malawi through uncharted routes, have proved very successful. This latest catch is proof that we need to work harder in securing our roads and our nation,” he said. n

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