Customs officers trained to detect gold
Fifteen Customs & Excise technical officers from the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) have undergone a Trainer of Trainers Workshop to detect gold exports and prevent the smuggling of the precious mineral.
Speaking at the opening ceremony at Msonkho House in Blantyre, Head of Corporate Affairs Steven Kapoloma said MRA is committed to protect the country’s mineral resources hence the training on gold detection.
He said gold may be exported from Malawi and Customs officers need to have the capacity to distinguish between real and counterfeit gold through training.
“We observed that our officers required training to detect gold exports. They need the requisite skills to identify gold and act accordingly,” Kapoloma said.
He added that gold and other minerals may also be smuggled out of Malawi through the border and other unchartered routes
“We are committed to protect Malawi’s mineral resources by detecting exports of gold and preventing the smuggling of this precious mineral. We have the Flexible Anti-Smuggling Team (FAST) and we will be using this facility to curb the smuggling of gold and other minerals,” he said.
MRA Customs officers with one of the gadgets that detects gold.
Facilitator of the Training, Rodrick Phiri, a gemmologist from the Ministry of Mines currently seconded to the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM), said MRA has a critical role to play in protecting the country’s mineral resources.
He said RBM, which is currently buying gold on the Malawi market, and the Ministry of Mines do not have the mandate to control exports at the border.
“The training of Customs officers is critical because minerals pass through Customs control and that is the responsibility of MRA as a tax administration. This training seeks to build their capacity to detect gold exports,” Phiri said.
The training drew Station Managers from Songwe, Chitipa, Chiponde, Mwanza and Chikombe Customs Stations and they will be required to train their fellow Customs officers on how to detect gold exports.
By Wadza Otomani