By VIOLET TEMBO
MINISTRY of Health and Ndola City Council health inspectors were on Saturday allegedly blocked by Ndola Deputy Mayor Kenny Kasaba from seizing expired food products from Chinese owned Mei Mei shopping complex located in Dola Hill.
Ndola Town Clerk Wisdom Bwalya confirmed that health inspectors had complained to him over Mr. Kasaba’s alleged interference in their work.
Sources revealed that the health inspectors raided the mall and discovered that a restaurant and a shop named Leo allegedly stocked expired food products and some did not have expiry date, while others were labelled in Chinese language.
The sources, who sought anonymity, said the inspectors’ attempts to have a Chinese manger sign their seizure notice failed as the situation turned hostile with the presence of suspected PF cadres.
According to the sources, the unidentified Chinese manager hesitated to sign the document and was seen making frantic phone calls.
“It was on Saturday that the inspectors moved to the Chinese shopping mall and after their findings, they informed the Chinese overall boss that they were seizing food products and closing the restaurant because it also did not have required fire, health and trading certificates.
“Few minutes later cadres appeared on the scene and the atmosphere became hostile as they intimidated the inspectors. Before the inspectors left the premises, the Ndola Deputy Mayor phoned one of the senior managers at the shopping complex and asked to speak to the inspector heading the team. We heard the Deputy Mayor instructing the inspectors to immediately leave the premises and there was an exchange of words on phone,” the sources said.
They said later the inspectors contacted Mr. Bwalya who told them to proceed with the seizure but cadres blocked them and the Chinese later hid the expired items. Mr. Bwalya later confirmed the fracas, but did not give details. “I am rushing to meet the provincial permanent secretary and I will call you later…but I can confirm it is true public health inspectors contacted me and I spoke to the Deputy Mayor,” he said before hanging up.
But Mr. Kasaba has denied interfering in the inspection exercise.
He however admitted that on the material day the Chinese senior manager at the complex phoned him that he appealed to the health inspectors to assist the erring Chinese nationals.
“Your sources are lying. I did not send cadres to harass anyone. We are government and when one abrogates the law, he or she calls one whom they are familiar with.
So they contacted and informed me about the inspectors on site. I asked the inspectors to assist the Chinese nationals in any way they could since they had admitted erring,” he said.