DAR ES SALAAM, May 8 (Xinhua) — The government of Tanzania on Wednesday warned that smugglers of minerals will face the full force of the law, including confiscation of their assets.
Dotto Biteko, the Minister for Minerals, urged all dealers in minerals to sell their precious stones to minerals trading centers that were being established across the east African nation.
Biteko was speaking in the northwest city of Mwanza on the shores of Lake Victoria shortly after he had inaugurated a minerals trading center.
The inauguration of the center brought to 13 the number of minerals trading centers that have been opened in the country since President John Magufuli had ordered the creation of such centers early this year to curb smuggling of the minerals out of the country.
“Anybody caught smuggling minerals out of the country will face the music, including confiscation of assets,” warned the minister.
On April 27, President Magufuli ordered regional commissioners in regions producing minerals to open trading centers of the precious stones in seven days.
Addressing a public rally in Chunya district in Mbeya region last week, the president wondered why that order he made early this year was not being observed by the regional commissioners.
“I want to see mineral trading centers in gold producing regions to be in operation within seven days from today,” said Magufuli in an address televised live by state-owned national broadcaster Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation.
“The mineral trading centers help in curbing smuggling of gold out of the country,” said the president.
The mineral trading centers accommodated buyers, miners, government offices, banks and dealers at a one-stop center.