By JOHN SAKALA
A combined team of Lusaka City Council (LCC) officers and State Police have arrested 82 suspected underage persons for underage beer drinking and patronising bars.
The operation was conducted last night from 20:00 hours to 02:00 hours today in Chaisa, Mandevu Emmasdale, Kabanana and Chipata compounds.
LCC acting Public Relations Manager George Sichimba said has told The Independent Observer that the operation was meant to randomly check on compliance levels bar operators.
Mr Sichimba said the underage patrons were taken to Esmmasdale Police Station and other police posts within the area for screening and those who would be found wanting would be dealt with in accordance with the law.
“Bar owners where suspects were apprehended from will also face the law. The Council wishes to warn young people not to be indulging themselves in illicit activities such as underage drinking of beer as they risk being apprehended and face the law for their actions.
“The combined team will continue with random operations throughout the city. Parents and guardians are also advised to be taking stock of their children and dependents and ensure these future leaders do not patronise and partake in alcohol consumption. It is the responsibility of parents and guardians to instill discipline in their children,” he said.
He said during the same operation, 10 bars were closed for operating outside the law.
Mr Sichimba said the 10 bars were found dealing in liquor without licenses contrary to the Liquor Licensing Act no. 20 of 2011.
“Five bars out the 10 were also found operating beyond permissible hours contrary to Regulation 4 (3) of the Statutory Instrument no. 64 of 2012 read together with section 29 (1) and (3) of the Liquor licensing Act no. 20 of 2011.
“The SI No. 64 of 2012 stipulates that a bar must open at 10: 00 hours and close at 22:00 hours. However, LCC has observed with disappointment that some bars are operating outside the stipulated hours opening as early as 06:00 hours and closing as late as 24:00 hours. Bar owners who are in this habit will not be spared the law,” he said.
He appealed to residents conducting business in the city to do so within the confines of the law.