The case of the four Matero Police station officers, Sgt. Bwalya Laban, Sgt Zuze Charity, Constable Chiinga Moses and Constable Mukeya Chibesa who were caught syphoning money from motorists at an illegally set roadblock along Mungwi road by Lusaka provincial minister, Bowman “superman’ Lusambo is deep and more serious than has been treated.
Firstly, provincial minister Bowman Lusambo must be commended for not sending his juniors but rushing to the scene to see for himself the corrupt or thievery activities of the four Matero cops, it’s also good that he went with various media groups to have the alleged cops filmed so that the entire nation could see the culprits.
While the above action was taken and police action was taken by the commissioner of police to suspend the four policemen, the issue is deeper and more serious than was treated, and like many cases should not end at suspension but should be a link to many crimes and negligent actions by police. Question and concerns begin to arise-
1. Who assigned these four policemen to be on Mungwi Road without receipts? if it’s the Officer in Charge then he is as guilty and should be suspended as he is an accomplice in the matter, if they assigned themselves then we are dealing with unsupervised cops that can assign duties to themselves without guidance and that should e a cause of worry for government and citizens.
2. How many times have those four cops and others mounted illegal roadblocks and defrauded the state of money from payments by traffic offenders? The likelihood that the current case is not the first or second is high and the state should consider using it to find other culprits within and outside of Lusaka city.
3. Do we have other people with clear evidence apart from this case of policemen obtaining money without issuance of receipts to traffic offenders within and outside Lusaka so that they too may be gotten rid of instead of hounding only the four as that won’t curb it. Thievery and corruption doesn’t start and end with the four, it’s widespread in the police service and the four are merely unlucky to have been caught and instead of quickly dismissing them, the police command can use them to trail other offenders as they have names of other officers who may have committed similar offenses. The state can use them as witnesses and links to other major corrupt traffic activities.
The real question or concern of the state should be how much they are losing and have lost through such acts, likely millions of Kwachas, a similar crime to tax evasion or having proceeds of crime.
All in all, while the four have been suspended and the Zambian populace seems happy with the action taken by the police commissioner, it entirely takes away so much as other offenders and accomplices are left unmentioned. The four should have been interrogated and asked to mention other police officers who have done similar activities so that they too are brought to book, and that way a bigger group of corrupt policemen is dismissed unlike a situation where only four are suspended and other offenders remain in the service.
The police command should have used this case to ask the public if they have similar complaints and have evidence of such activities both within and outside Lusaka so that perpetrators are similarly dismissed from the service.
Have a Blessed Monday.
Mbanga, Irvine Ilukui.
United States of America.