SMUGGLING BID GOES AWRY AS BOAT SINKS ON LAKE KARIBA
By OLIVER SAMBOKO
A SMUGGLING syndicate involving Zambians and Zimbabweans on Lake Kariba has been exposed after a boat used in the illegal operation capsized on the international waters.
It is not yet known whether there are casualties.
Authorities in Zimbabwe have identified the boat that capsized as the MV Jesamine KF230 which is said to have been hired out but did not return as expected while communication was lost leading to alarm being raised.
Marine authorities in Zimbabwe believe that the mini houseboat, tilted to one side under the weight of goods leading to its sinking.
It’s also believed that after the water started filling in the boat, the smugglers and their Zambian links, disappeared in other boats.
No suspect has been arrested but a manhunt has been launched to apprehend those involved in the syndicate.
And according to a Zambian fisherman operating on Lake Kariba, Mr MalvinMuzingili, who witnessed the tragedy, the overloaded vessel was carrying bales of clothes and other items believed to have been loaded from one of the harbours in Siavonga on the southern part of the lake.
He said the discovered contraband of smuggled bales were headed for Msampakaruma Island where it was to be transported to the main land in Kariba town in Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwean government has maintained the strictest level-four lockdown despite a 49.5-percent decrease in new Covid-19 infections.
The lockdown prohibits inter-city travel within Zimbabwe leading to shortage of goods and forcing many citizens in that country to turn to smuggling for their survival.
Despite the Zambian Immigration Department and customs officers intensifying patrols on the Lusaka- Chirundu/ Siavonga road to stop smuggling and illegal entry into the country, sophisticated smuggling barons continued eluding the drag net.