AVIC International Zambia says there is serious theft of construction material at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport in Ndola.

AVIC Senior Consultant Lei Yingqi was speaking when the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) board toured the airport yesterday.

In June this year, Lei reported theft of some cables on the site to Deputy Secretary to Cabinet Patrick Kangwa, who toured works on the project then.

Lei said he was worried that theft of materials had continued because it was detrimental to progression of the works at the US $397 million project.

He said despite engaging surrounding communities, employees and police on the matter, the “unpatriotic people” had continued breaking the wire fence to haul a number of building materials including power generators.

“Some kind of stealing is happening here. I have tried working with the police and surrounding communities but the matter has persisted unfortunately. Unfortunately, most of the materials being stolen are imported ones,” lamented Lei.

But Copperbelt Police Commissioner Charity Katanga, who was part of the tour, said there was need to enhance internal security before talking about the police.

She, however, assured that police would be ready to arrest such people provided they were furnished with adequate information.

Katanga urged management at the new airport to properly furnish her office with all employees’ details so that her officers could easily follow up matters of such nature in case they recur.

“These people are supposed to be searched as they enter and exit the premises. I urge Mr Lie and his group to ensure that employees here are properly vetted by our office. Sometimes when they are sacked for one reason or the other, they come to steal,” said Katanga.

And speaking earlier, CAA Acting Board Chairperson, Patrick Nswana expressed satisfaction with the quality of works exhibited by the contractor.

Nswana said the authority had confidence in the contractor and consultants who are attached to undertake the works.

“We are very pleased with what we have seen here. We only hope the contractor won’t do bad works when winding up, they should continue doing good works like this,” Nswana said.

Nswana bemoaned the increased levels of encroachment on pieces of land near airports.

He said encroachment on Aviation facilities was a threat to security.

Nswana said if left unchecked, the authority would have no room to expand aviation facilities and to do other vital installations because all the pieces of land would be taken.

“We are here to look at our infrastructure and equipment which were not being used due to lock downs, but we are worried levels of encroachment on our pieces of land,” said Nswana.