Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Deputy Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Patrick Akonaay said in Dar es Salaam last week that investigations by the tax authority established that the petroleum tankers which were loaded with edible oil came from Beira.
“Mount Meru trucks which are being held by Zambian authorities did not originate from Dar es Salaam Port. The petroleum tankers were loaded at Beira Port in Mozambique,” Akonaay said while commenting on allegations that the trucks’ port of origin was Dar es Salaam.
He referred The Guardian to Zambia Revenue Authority’s Commissioner of Customs Sydney Chibbabuka also said that the impounded tankers originated from Beira. “You can get all the details relating to the subject from TRA’s Akonaay,” Chibbabbuka said.
Over a fortnight ago, Zambia Daily Nation newspaper reported that Mount Meru tankers were detained by ZRA officials for loading cooking oil in tankers labelled as petroleum carriers. Instead of carrying fuel, they were transporting cooking oil which they disguised as crude palm oil. There is now fear that contamination of edible oil being carried in the fuel tankers could pose serious health risks to consumers, Daily Nation said in its story.
When contacted for a comment, one of the officials at Mount Meru who refused to be named, admitted that the company was using fuel tankers to transport cooking oil but said there was absolutely nothing wrong with it, that the product was absolutely safe.
Daily Nation reporters who gained entry into the ZRA warehouse in Makeni yesterday found the 36 fuel tankers belonging to Mount Meru which were impounded last week for allegedly smuggling cooking oil.
Now the Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is demanding an explanation and possible sanctions on the company if it is found wanting, saying such practices were detrimental to the health of the consumers.
Commenting on the matter, CCPC director Chilufya Sampa said the action by Mount Meru was unfortunate. “I would not think that a tanker meant for fuel can also be used for edible products like cooking oil and if it is true, this is a very unfortunate development.
“They should be sanctioned. We hope that the sanctions imposed on them will stop them from engaging in such practices,” Sampa said, the paper quoted the CCPC chief as saying.