Malawi Police Service has warned illegal fuel vendors that they will be arrested if found operating such businesses.
The warning was issued in Phalombe district on Thursday by the law enforcers’ Southern region coordinator for community policing, Senior Superintendent Alex Simenti, at a meeting which was organised in partnership with Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA).
The meeting called together different stakeholders including religious leaders, community policing forum members, police officers and traditional leaders.
Simenti advised all those who want to be operating businesses to do with fuel to get in touch with MERA so that they should be advised on what to do.
“We came here in Phalombe to discuss with all the stakeholders so that we join hands with our friends from MERA in making sure that fuel is being sold in certified places.
“We have noted that in this district the malpractice of illegal fuel vending is rampant as in many areas people are just selling and keeping fuel anyhow without licences so we want to work on that and bring to book all the people who are doing this,” Simenti told Malawi24.
In his remarks, Sub Traditional Authority Namasoko said he will call for a meeting with all chiefs that fall under his authority and other stakeholders in his area to end the malpractice in his area.
“It’s true that this malpractice is also rampant in my area, people are just selling and keeping fuel without following procedures like we have heard.
“We have learnt that fuel is very dangerous and that it can kill many at once if not taken care of and kept in certified places. I’ll meet my fellow chiefs and other people to do something about this,” said the chief.
During the meeting one of the religious leaders, Mathero Msatithe of the CCAP wondered why the police are just watching people doing this malpractice yet the law enforcers are also members of the communities where these said illegal vendors are operating their fuel businesses.
“We see these illegal vendors together with our Police officers, but I don’t know why they do not arrest them,” wondered Msatithe.
In his response, Simenti admitted that it is true that it happens that the Police officers are also customers of these illegal vendors but he reminded everyone that it is a responsibility of every Malawian to take action on these people by reporting them to Police or other authorities.