POLICE Spokesperson Esther Katongo says it was intentional to conceal the identity of the person who was allegedly killed by Kabaso Mulenga alias Spax in order to avoid jeopardise investigations.
And Katongo says people were paid to participate in mob justice against gassing suspects.
Meanwhile, Katongo says PF vice-chairperson for mobilization Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba never availed any information to police despite claiming he knew the gassing master minders.
Speaking when she appeared on 5 FM’s the Burning Issue Radio programme, Thursday, Katongo said police were still investigating the murder case in which Spax was implicated.
“The fact that we have told you that we are investigating the case of murder, we have not given you information on who this person has killed, there could be a reason why we have not giving you that person. It could be there are other people that we want to apprehend in connection to that case. Even the witnesses can even be compromised and the like. When we give you information that is what is appropriate for us. When you look at the issue of Spax, the murder issue, this is an issue where officers still need to get statements from other witnesses. We have opened a docket and we have recorded statements from witnesses and we feel we need to get other witnesses who we have spotted so that we can get statements from them and put them together so that we can get ready to go to court. Meaning that investigations have not yet been concluded,” Katongo said.
She explained that issuing warn and caution statements to suspects was mandatory.
“I believe people mistook that for severely warning someone. There are instances where we severely warn someone, you tell them, ‘next time don’t do this’ and you let them go. But when you talk about a warn and caution, this is procedure for every person that has been picked by police, even when you are about to conclude the investigation or before charging someone, you have to warn and caution them to say as police this is the matter we have picked you for. You don’t get someone and just dump that person without explaining why that person has been picked. Whether it is assault, theft, a felony like murder, or aggravated robbery, a suspect has to be warned and cautioned. At times if you skip that in court, the defense party may even take that as an issue to their advantage. So you cannot just keep someone in detention without that person knowing why they are in detention. This person is in detention and waiting to be charged. Investigations are going on well and very soon we will be announcing our first step,” Katongo said.
And Katongo said some people were paid to participate in mob justice.
“Whenever there is trouble, whenever there is public disorder, stay away from such groupings. Whenever you are found, you are part and parcel of that group. So whenever you see people engaging themselves in mob justice, as a law abiding citizen move away from that place, inform authorities to say this is what is happening. And for those getting into mob justice, you should know that at the end of this all, you can be apprehended and charged accordingly. Some of those people who were initiating these issues, some of them were paid to do that and you helped the criminals to gas you, after they gas you, you helped them to kill innocent people that is what those who did that did,” Katongo said.
Meanwhile, when asked by a caller why police did not take seriously GBM’s claims that he knew the people that were behind the gassing activities, Katongo said it was the decision of the police to select where they felt they could take action.
“The problem that we have is that people like comparing when it comes to politics and I am not comfortable with that. Whatever happens, it is like in a home, this one does something, you beat that child, then the next time another person will do something, you don’t beat that child and those who are seeing will be saying ‘ah no, why uyu bamu menya uyu sibana mumenye’ (why didn’t they beat the other child as well) it goes with the elements that constitutes what someone says. How serious is what someone has said? And in what context was that thing said? So for us, we have said that so many times and we will continue saying that no matter how many names you are going to call us, we move where we feel we can move,” responded Katongo.
“We make our independent judgement depending on what someone has spoken and from what someone has spoken, we pick out elements to say what offence does this constitute. What implications may this have, and then when we see that there are these implications, then we move in and question this person and maybe warn and let that person go. But when you look at where he is saying ‘I have information’ we have heard a lot of accusations, from what political parties are saying and they want to drag the police in this, which we have said no. Even this investigation of the chemical spraying, we have been doing it ourselves without influence. If Mr GBM had information, he would have brought that information.”