THE RELEASE of a suspect linked to the theft of four new vehicles has angered Home Affairs permanent secretary Maxwell Nkole.
The suspect was arrested in Lusaka’s Avondale on February 13 around 2:00 am after a probe linked him to the theft of the vehicles valued at more than K3 billion or KR3million.
The vehicles are refrigerated Volvo trucks and two new Toyota Hilux 4X4s bought using alleged falsified documents and are currently being kept at Lusaka Central police in the absence of the named suspect, while another man is on the run.
“The suspected collusion between police officers at Lusaka Central Division and suspects facing serious criminal charges is very worrisome and must stop because it is frustrating investigations,” Mr. Nkole said.
He now wants Inspector General (IG) of police Stellah Libongani to act and “curb the rot” before it spreads to other police stations.
“As a ministry, we want the IG to act on these reports of the rot among police officers at Lusaka Central where suspects are being released suspiciously,” Mr. Nkole said, “they must bring the suspects back into police custody and investigate the matter until it is disposed of by the courts of law.”
Mr. Nkole, who once headed the task force on corruption, said the Ministry of Home Affairs would expedite the formation of a public complaints committee to hear cases against “rogue officers” and bring graft to an end in the service.
“It has become clear to us that the police are incapable of investigating themselves,” Mr. Nkole said, “this is why we are now opting for a public complaints committee where ordinary victims of police graft can come and tell us about all the rot.”
The vehicles involved are believed to have been bought from a local motor dealer and South Africa using falsified documents that helped the suspect obtain financing from a financial institution in Lusaka.
Elizabeth Kanjela, the police spokesperson and deputy Inspector General of police Solomon Jere could not be reached for comment.
The suspect who recently moved from Kitwe is believed to have connections with the notorious Jerabos.
Mr. Nkole said he would demand a report from the IG on occurrences in the service as he tries to “clean up” the mess and restore order.