By Sifiso Nhlabatsi | 2018-05-17
Police have busted a sugar stealing syndicate in Matsapha.
The syndicate has been draining the Eswatini economy as truckloads of sugar were being stolen and exported to South Africa.
As things stand, sugar amounting to over E100 000 has been recovered from shops around the country.
The stolen sugar was also to local retailers mostly Asian owned shops. Information gathered is that police have been investigating cases whereby truckloads of sugar would just vanish from a certain factory in Matsapha.
Information gathered from reliable sources is that a delivery truck carrying large quantities of sugar would be diverted by employees to a different destination
It is alleged that the driver of the truck would be told to go deliver the sugar at a certain destination.
Upon reaching that destination, the sugar would be packaged into 50kg or 25kg bags.
It is said the syndicate had its own packaging plant. Once the sugar is re-packaged it is said it would then be sold to different stores around the country and South Africa.
Police received intelligence about the whole operation. Information gathered is that after a thorough search police were able to recover about 14 tons of sugar which had already been sold to different shops around the country.
It was gathered that in Nhlangano, police confiscated 178 bags of 50kg sugar while at Siphofaneni 33 bags of 25kg bags were recovered and at Ngcamphalala area 87 bags of 50kg were recovered.
It is said the bogus supplier even provided invoice receipts to the unsuspecting buyers to make the whole deal look legit.
It has also been gathered that most of the buyers were Asian nationals who bought the sugar in bulk for their shops.
Police are still investigating the case of the trucks which were diverted to South Africa with loads of sugar.
Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Khulani Mamba confirmed the incident.
Mamba said police discovered that the syndicate was diverting trucks carrying sugar and delivered the sugar to a bogus supplier.
He said police had already recovered almost half of the stolen sugar.
Mamba sent out a stern warning to those who are in possession of the supplies not to dispose of the sugar in a bid to conceal evidence because police already know who the buyers are and that they are being tracked down.
It has been gathered that those who bought the sugar believed that they were involved in a genuine trade because they were even furnished with receipts by the bogus suppliers.
The police have since appealed to those who might be in possession of the stolen sugar to bring it to their nearest police station or drop it off at Manzini Police Regional Quarters or contact Manzini Regional Crime Branch Officer Clement Sihlongonyane (7612 7994) Officer Sipho Methula from the Fraud Unit at (7612 8045), or the investigation officer Hanson Mavimbela (7679 6148).
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