Police officers in Swaziland have been accused of illegally smuggling mealie-meal into the kingdom from South Africa.
A police car was spotted taking at least 15 bags of 12.5 kg meal across the border at Ngwenya-Oshoek, the Sunday Observer newspaper in Swaziland reported (11 February 2018). There is a 20kg quota for individuals to import the meal which is also known as corn meal or maize meal.
The newspaper said one of its own reporters witnessed a police car being loaded with mealie-meal and an officer driving through the border post, ‘without formality, save for the driver greeting officers manning the South African entry point’. It happened on Wednesday 7 February 2018 at about 11.20 a.m.
The car was later seen delivering mealie-meal to Mbabane Central High school.
The newspaper reported, ‘A police officer admitted that some superiors or those with authority to drive vehicles used them to buy mealie-meal on a regular basis, which they suspect is resold locally.’
The Observer quoted an unnamed police officer saying, ‘They buy in bulk, which I suspect is not for personal consumption because they buy several bags at a time in any case.’
Police are investigating.
There have been a number of allegations of police corruption in Swaziland. In June 2017, National Commissioner of Police Isaac Magagula announced an investigation into reports officers helped to smuggle illegal foreigners into the kingdom.
In December 2017, Mbabane Magistrates Court was told of an officer selling fake driving licences.
In June 2017, people in Mahlangatsha accuse armed police of forcefully taking away the marijuana (known locally as dagga) that they had illegally farmed and selling it.
In June 2017, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) reported the kingdom, which is ruled by King Mswati III as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, was riddled with corruption in both private and public places.
It said, ‘The results of grand corruption are there for all to see in the ever increasing wealth of high-level civil servants and officers of state.’
It added, ‘For a long time the police, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade as well as the Department of Customs and Excise have often been implicated in corrupt practices.’
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