The Task Force on Illegal Fuel Vending, a collaborative initiative involving law enforcement agencies and security wings and led by the Energy Regulation Board (ERB), executed a series of raids in and around Lusaka on December 16th, 2023. This concerted effort aimed to address the widespread problem of illegal fuel vending in the region.
Led by the Drug Enforcement Commission, the task force executed the operation resulting in the arrest of 22 individuals involved in illegal fuel dealings. The suspects are currently in police custody awaiting formal charges. Simultaneously, approximately 10,050 liters of fuel, valued at around K300,000, were seized along with six (06) pumps.
The Energy Regulation Board Acting Manager Public Relations, Lenganji Sikapizye, and Mwenge Mulenga, the Drug Enforcement Commission Public Relations Officer, issued a joint official statement emphasizing the commitment of the task force to eradicate illegal fuel vending in the country.
The statement warned individuals engaged in such activities to cease their involvement or face legal consequences.
Illegal fuel vending not only deprives the country of essential revenue through tax evasion but also poses significant risks. The quality of fuel sold by illegal vendors cannot be guaranteed, potentially causing damage to engines of vehicles and equipment.
Furthermore, the unsafe storage of fuel in undesignated places, such as homes and markets, compromises public safety. Past incidents have shown that mishandling and improper storage of fuel in these locations can lead to fires, resulting in loss of life and property damage.
Motorists and fuel consumers are strongly advised to purchase fuel exclusively from designated filling stations regularly monitored by the ERB for safety and fuel quality compliance.
The Task Force pledges ongoing collaboration with the public, encouraging them to report suspected illegal fuel vending activities, reinforcing their commitment to maintaining the integrity of the fuel supply chain and ensuring public safety.