The Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS), in conjunction with Blantyre Police Station, on Friday confiscated 20 packages—each containing 1 500 bottles of 200 mililitres—and 35 100 labels of illegal spirits in Blantyre.
Blantyre Police Station spokesperson Elizabeth Divala confirmed the arrest of three people—Clement Chikoko, 48, from Mothiwa Village, and his wife Violet, 38, from Jumbe Village, both in Traditional Authority (T/A) Likoswe, Chiradzulu and Boniface John, 29, from Kamoto Village, T/A Chimaliro, Thyolo— for allegedly producing counterfeit products.
According to MBS director general Davlin Chokazinga, the stickers are counterfeits of Crystal Pure Dry Spirit previously manufactured by Shine Beverages Limited which closed its operations following the ban on sale of alcoholic beverages in plastic bottles.
Making the announcement at MBS head office in Blantyre on Friday, Chokazinga said the labels were confiscated from a printer at HHI premises in Blantyre.
“The stickers were being printed at a printer in HHI premises hired by a couple from Manyowe Township Mr and Mrs Chikoko,” he said.
Chokazinga said Violet Chikoko was arrested as she was about to supply the stickers to Boniface John who runs a home factory that blends and packages spirits at his house in Area 9 in Machinjiri.
“John admitted that he buys the banned spirits from a tanker from Lilongwe, whose contact details we are yet to get,” he said.
The MBS chief described the liquor in the confiscated products “as dangerous and poisonous substances”, adding that “this is not food grade ethanol.”
He promised to get to the root of the problem until they bring to book the big supplier.
The confiscation on Friday follows seizure of illegal liquor in Ntcheu and Nkhata Bay last month. n