Johannesburg – A private investigation has revealed how a Chinese-owned company called Simuliya has allegedly been manufacturing counterfeit mineral water for various bottling companies in Zambia, among them Aquasavana and Aquarite, the Zambian Observer reported.
Furthermore, certain police officers have been accused of trying to cover up the incident.
Meanwhile, chief government spokesperson Dora Siliya says if found guilty, the Chinese nationals will be deported immediately.
Footage posted last Friday on New Diggers YouTube channel showed police officers from Kanyama raiding a bottling plant in an industrial area of the capital Lusaka where the Chinese nationals have allegedly been operating.
During the raid, one of the men attempted to stop the police officers from the Intellectual Property Unit (IPU) from filming his premises where water was being pumped from a nearby pit into various bottles through a running tap.
“Thousands of water bottles bearing several brands were found at the warehouse with Liu’s family and a group of Zambian employees working round the clock to fill the bottles and load them onto trucks for distribution to different clients around Lusaka,” reported the Observer.
Despite the video footage showing water from the pit filling the water bottles via the tap, Liu claimed the water was being purified before sealing at the request of his clients.
But Dr Mohamed El Sahili, the company director of Fairy Bottling which produces Aquasavana Mineral water, alleges the Chinese were making counterfeit products, taking empty Aquasavana bottles obtained from supermarkets and filling them with the fake water.
After the suspects were taken to the police station, several top officers at the Kanyama police station attempted to cover up the crime, Sahili asserted.
A man claiming to be the President of the Zambia China Business Association arrived at the station and told senior officers that his association had made a lot of donations to the Kanyama police.
A senior police officer at the station then warned that it would be better not to pursue any further action because it could ruin Aquasavana’s business.
The Zambia Bureau of Standards has taken samples of the water for testing. Deportation orders could follow.
African News Agency/ANA