Police have recorded warn and caution statements from the Chingola District Officer Commanding Peter Miselo and District Criminal Investigations Officer (DCIO) Wellington Falanga who have allegedly been implicated in the gassing incidences on the Copperbelt.
And Police in Chingola have also arrested PF Information Publicity Secretary (IPS) Evans Mulenga who is detained and under investigation over his involvement in gassing.
Copperbelt Province Commissioner of Police Charity Katanga said she could not comment on the matter as she was not the one handling the case, adding that the gassing incidences in Chingola were partly investigated by officers from Force Headquarters in Lusaka, whom she said may have more details.
Meanwhile Police spokesperson Esther Mwaata Katongo said she was not aware, but even if she was, she would not comment on the development because “those are administrative matters”.
But sources in Chingola have told News Diggers! that in fact, the two top officers in Chingola were recalled for redeployment over a week ago, and that a warn and caution statement was recorded from them after a PF cadre implicated them, and after some chemical substances were found in their office.
“The DCIO and the Officer Commanding have been recalled to Lusaka for redeployment. But some details have emerged that they are under investigation regarding the gassing incidences and riots in Chingola. At the moment, a warn and caution has been recorded from the DCIO Mr Wellington Falanga and the Officer Commanding Mr Peter Miselo,” the sources narrated.
The sources disclosed that some chemical substances used for gassing were found in the Officer Commanding’s office, and the said chemicals are believed to have been taken from a PF cadre who had been detained for questioning and later released from custody under suspicious circumstances.
“What happened is that during the first riot in Chingola, some members of the public noticed that one of the officers who were patrolling was actually a gassing suspect who had been identified and reported to the police. So they were surprised to see that a cadre called Mulenga was also among police officers as a person involved in the neighbourhood watch group. Now this Mulenga is a staunch PF cadre in the district, he is said to be the IPS and he had earlier been dragged to the police for possessing some suspicious chemicals. But somehow, police officers released Mulenga and he was later found among the officers patrolling the town,” the source narrated.
“The reason why these top officers from Chingola are being investigated is because they took the suspected chemicals substances which residents found on Mulenga and kept them in the office. So that time when the deputy IG, the Commissioner for Copperbelt and other high ranking officers visited Chingola, they also conducted an investigation on police officers. They took the same suspected gassing materials which later tested positive as containing toxic substances.”
The sources said Mulenga who was in police detention had implicated the top cops in Chingola.
“Meanwhile, Mulenga has been arrested on the Copperbelt, and after giving him some physical discipline, he started revealing whom he was working with. In fact, he claimed that the Officer Commanding tried to warn him to leave Chingola. He said a number of things which have now implicated the top two police officers in Chingola. But the motive is still not clear for the gassing, this PF cadre is just saying ‘the people who recruit give you money, and they recruit people in groups,” said the sources.
“So at the moment, police in Lusaka have recorded a warn and caution statement from Miselo and Falanga over the gassing of people in Chingola. This mean they are expected to help with investigation, but you know when a warn and caution statement is recorded from you, it means an investigation has already been carried and there is sufficient evidence linking you to a crime. So the Police Command in Lusaka has withdrawn these two and their replacements have already been sent.”
When contacted, Katanga said she was not in a position to comment because the matter was being handled by Force Headquarters in Lusaka.
Over that case you are asking about, it’s not Copperbelt dealing with it and it’s not Chingola police dealing with it. I am sure it’s other officers from Headquarters. I have the right to comment on cases. So why should I fear to comment on cases that I am handling? Chingola is under me and I am not handling it myself. So, there is nothing I can comment on. I am not aware about that case because there are some people from Force Headquarters who have been coming to Chingola. So, I don’t know about that, but otherwise the report of the people that we have arrested so far is there. The minister commented on them and there are others whom we commented on after arresting them and there are others that appeared in court… I brought Chingola under control. As for the person who has been arrested, I don’t know. I have not been briefed by my officers. There are some people who have been coming from Lusaka to come and do investigations in the province. So, I may not be in the position to tell what the position is,” said Katanga.
In Lusaka, Katongo said: “When it comes to suspects, whoever is picked, we are not giving out people’s names. For all the suspects, we haven’t mentioned anyone. So, for that one, I am not even aware. The best would be to get in touch with Mrs Katanga. You can find out from Mrs Katanga herself. That is something in administration which I can’t comment on. No, I can’t. If it is something within my mandate, I have always commented on but if it is something outside my mandate, I don’t [comment.”