The Chingola Immigration Office has detained eight Congolese nationals, including a suspected Mastermind, Kevine Mutombo (40), in a suspected case of smuggling of migrants.
In a statement today, Immigration department public relations officer Namati Nshinka said the eight were among twelve (12) Congolese who were intercepted on 25th November 2023 by Immigration Officers at a Checkpoint between Chingola and Chililabombwe in two Taxis.r
He said the group entered Zambia through Kasumbalesa and booked the two taxis at night to avoid detection.
Mr. Nshinka however stated that the Chingola Immigration Office received information from a concerned member of the public regarding the group’s suspicious movements.
He added that they all expressed ignorance regarding their intended destination and kept pointing to the suspected Mastermind, believed to have orchestrated their movements.
Mr. Nshinka further stated that four individuals, a Mother and her baby, and two juveniles were released and removed from the country while Kevine Mutombo has been charged with smuggling of persons contrary to section 9(1) of the Anti-Human Trafficking Act of 2008 as read with (Amendment) number 16 of 2022.
He explained that the other four males and three females remain detained pending further investigations.
Mr. Nshinka stated that the Chingola incident brought the number of persons apprehended for various immigration offences between 24th and 27th November 2023 to 71.
Meanwhile, Mr. Nshinka revealed that the Ndola Regional Immigration Office on 24th November 2023 secured the conviction of a 51-year-old female Zambian of Ndola’s Mushili, Priscilla Chapotamo, for harbouring illegal immigrants contrary to section 46(1)(viii) and section 52(1) of the Immigration and Deportation Act number 18 of 2010 of the Laws of Zambia.
He said she was apprehended on 20th November 2023 during a routine operation for harbouring five undocumented Tanzanian nationals at her Mushili residence by providing them lodging.
Mr. Nshinka noted that on 24th November 2023, the Ndola Magistrate Court convicted and sentenced her to pay a fine of K 2,250 or, in default, six months simple imprisonment.
Mr. Nshinka said she since paid the fine and the Ndola court outcome brings the number of convictions secured by the Department of Immigration between 24th and 27th November 2023 to 31.
And Mr. Nshinka said in another development, the Department of Immigration, between 24th and 27th November 2023, removed 71 illegal immigrants from the country, including 24 Tanzanians removed on 25th November 2023 by the Kitwe Immigration Office.
He said the Tanzanians were removed after paying court fines of between K 100 and K 10,000 for illegal entry, unlawful stay, and engaging in business without permits, having been arrested between October and November 2023.