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Zimbabwe Price Police Crack Down on Merchants

Police in Zimbabwe have launched a crackdown on merchants for failing to comply with government-ordered price cuts on some goods.

A government-controlled newspaper The Sunday Mail also reported Sunday the arrest of a senator from the ruling party who police said was caught hoarding sugar in a toilet at his home.

Senator Sirio Majuru, a shop owner, was also charged with overpricing items for sale.

Last week, the government ordered price cuts in an effort to curb inflation, which analysts say is running at an annual rate of at least 45-hundred percent. In the weeks before the price cuts were ordered, the price of bread and cornmeal rose almost daily.

In addition to the senator, some 20 other shopkeepers were charged with violating the government price-controls. Shops are being forced to sell basic commodities at the government-approved price.

Zimbabwe has endured shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency for years in a deepening economic crisis.

The U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell, has predicted the inflation will soon drive President Robert Mugabe from power.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.