FRANCISTOWN: Police have expressed concerned over the growing number of people who continue to use ungazetted points of entry to illegally import alcohol and tobacco from neighbouring countries such as Zambia and Zimbabwe during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Officer Commanding No.7, Chobe district, senior Superintendent, Thari Senwelo told Mmegi that they are worried about the escalating number of people who smuggle alcohol and tobacco from neighbouring countries such as Zambia and Zimbabwe.
He said that since the beginning of the lockdown they have registered 39 cases of people unlawfully importing alcohol through ungazetted points of entry.
When citing some of the recent cases they recorded, Senwelo said that on Sunday at night they arrested a 44-year-old man from Pandamatenga village who was caught red-handed with 120 bottles of Whiskey Ball after smuggling them through an ungazetted point of entry.
He said: “We suspected that the alcohol was illegally imported from the Zimbabwe border to Botswana”.
He observed that they confiscated all the bottles of Whiskey Ball and the man was then charged with P4,000.
Senwelo also said that they have also arrested a 40-year-old man from Kazungala village who is still in custody after being caught in the act smuggling 600 bottles of alcohol, 260 packs of Safari King cigarettes and a green plant suspected to be dagga also known as motokwane in the vernacular.
He further said that they managed to impound all the unlawfully imported bottles of alcohol comprising 220ml bottles of Whiskey Ball, Castle and assorted alcoholic beverages.
He said that the perpetrator was then charged P5,000 for the alcohol and tobacco, but was further remanded in jail for the green plant suspected to be dagga.
On another note, the officer commanding No: 7 district said that they have also noticed a growing problematic trend in their policing area of people brewing homemade traditional beer.
He said that just last week they detained three women from Kgaphamadi ward in Kasane for illegally brewing homemade traditional beer, a mixture of oranges, pineapple, maizemeal and yeast.
He said that the women who are aged between 25 and 40 years were then charged P500 each.
Senwelo urged Batswana to be patient and desist from brewing
He indicated that the government prohibited the sale of alcohol during lockdown and State of Emergency in order to protect Batswana against the spread of COVID-19.
He said: “The government will legalise the sale of alcohol when the timing is appropriate. For now let’s stop brewing homemade traditional concoctions and stop purchasing such as it can be harmful to our health”.
Meanwhile, another worried top police officer, Tshesebe station commander, Superintendent Amos Kekgathetse said that they have arrested five people at Jackalas 1 village on different occasions after they were found in illegal possession of alcoholic beverages.
The police had received information from concerned villagers about the illegal sale of alcohol at Jackalas 1.
Following a tip-off, Kekgathetse stated that they arrested five individuals who were found in possession of a total of 91 bottles of a variety of alcohol last Friday.
Kekgathetse further revealed that suspects were found in possession of 200ml of Chateau brandy, 750ml of Gold Blend whiskey and Nikolai vodka.
The suspects who included one male aged between 30 and 35 and four females, the eldest of them aged 53 years, were all arrested in their places of residence.
Kekgathetse also indicated that they found some of the suspects in possession of illegal tobacco of a box of 20 Everest cigarettes.
According to Tshesebe station commander, all the suspects claimed that a certain individual who they were still protecting delivered the alcohol and tobacco to them.
He pleaded with the community to help them identify the man or woman who is said to be making this illegal alcohol and tobacco deliveries from Zimbabwe.
The police boss also thanked the community for reporting illegal activities taking place his area of operation and urged them to continue doing a good job for all the wrongdoers to be taken to task.
He warned the public against selling alcohol and tobacco despite government efforts in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.