THE Ministry of Home Affairs has urged the Zambia Police to weed out corrupt police officers that are denting the image of the service and frustrating the Government’s efforts to fight the vice by perpetrating it.
Home Affairs Deputy Minister, Stephen Kampyongo said police officers, like any other person found engaging in wrong-doing, citing corruption, were not above the law.
Mr Kampyongo said Tuesday’s jailing of three high-ranking police officers by the Lusaka High Court should serve as a deterrent to the Police Service to detest being miscreants.
“It is very unfortunate that police officers should be the ones in this situation of engaging in corrupt activities. The jailing of the three police officers who hold high ranks should serve as a warning that they (police) are not above the law, Mr Kampyongo said.
The three officers were each jailed for two years with hard labour for attempting to extort K10,000 from a woman they accused of illegally importing beer into the country.
When he jailed Felix Kafula, 42, Simon Mulenga, 39, and Conrad Bwalya, 42, Judge Chalwe Mchenga said that the police officers were among a few men in uniform that were tarnishing the image of the service through misconduct.
The officers, all inspectors, had introduced themselves as customs officers from the Zambia Revenue Authority before they accused Mary Nambita of illegally importing alcoholic beverages from Zimbabwe and demanded the payment of K10, 000.
Mr Kampyongo in an interview in Lusaka yesterday expressed disappointment over the conduct of the officers, adding that the Ministry of Home Affairs would not defend acts of corruption by law enforcement officers.
He said it was important that the police should perform their duties in a professional manner and that the Government was aware of the difficult conditions they were working under but that commitment had already been shown to improve the working conditions of all workers in the country.
Mr Kampyongo said police officers, just like any other person, were prone to corruption but that their duties required them to rise above engaging in such vices and be role models in fighting corruption.
“As a police officer, you cannot fight a vice which you are also engaging in and I want to strongly state that the ministry will not defend anyone found engaging in corruption, our men and women in uniform need to be exemplary in the discharge of their duties,” Mr Kampyongo said.
Times of Zambia