AN INVESTIGATION by the Ministry of Home Affairs has revealed how Lusaka Lawyer Lewis Mosho’s law firm hired three police officers to illegally arrest and deport nine Chinese working for Kingphar Company Zambia Limited.
Sources at the Ministry have told News Diggers that the officers lied that they were executing a High Court order, when in fact not, adding that one of the officers accused of abuse of office is the driver for Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja.
And in a letter which the Ministry has sent to Kanganja dated April 28, 2020, Home Affairs permanent secretary Dr Chileshe Mulenga asked the police chief to direct the suspension of the officers, pending hearing.
In the letter, which the Home Affairs Ministry sources shared, Dr Mulenga narrated how his office came to discover that Mosho’s law firm, Lewis Nathan Advocates, had hired the three officers to conduct an illegal arrest.
“On 21st April, 2020 my office received a complaint of the Immigration Department having arrested and detained nine Chinese nationals at Chelstone Police Station on alleged Immigration offences. The complaint was made by telephone by the Office of the Commercial Counsellor, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to Zambia. To address the complaint, I requested the Immigration Secretary, Mr. Smoke Kunda and acting police secretary, Mr. Tresford Kasale to go to Chelstone police station to verify the report and have the nine Chinese nationals released without any further delay if indeed they had been detained on frivolous grounds,” Dr Mulenga narrated.
“Attached herewith is the report made by the officers assigned to follow-up the complaint. In brief, it was established that nine Chinese nationals had indeed been arrested in the night of 21st April, 2020 and detained at Chelstone Police Station. According to the officer-in-charge, Chelstone Police Station, the Nine Chinese nationals were detained for alleged money laundering, fraud and illegal stay in the country. The Chinese nationals were arrested and detained at Chelstone Police Station by three police officers and Mr. Brian Lukwesa of Nathan and Lewis Advocates. The police officers were: 1. No. 10781 chief inspector Kachinga, Platoon Commander, Mass Media Operations Point, 2. No. 13105 Inspector Matabashi, driver to the Inspector General of Police, Zambia Police Headquarters; and 3. No. 45935 Constable Nkowani, Mass Media operations point.”
He said the three officers had claimed that they were executing a High Court order.
“The three officers admitted having detained nine Chinese nationals the previous night. They also claimed to have been executing an Order of the High Court. The purported order, however, turned out to be a consent order granted by the High Court of Zambia in Kabwe to the parties, namely: 1. Youjun Zhuang as 1st Applicant; 2. Wang Qinghai as 2nd Applicant; and 3. Kingphar Company Zambia Limited as Respondent. The consent order was for the placement of Kingphar Company Zambia Limited under supervision and commencement of business rescue proceedings. It had no provisions directing the police officers to arrest anyone,” Dr Mulenga stated.
He stated that among the things the ministry had established, Lewis Nathan Advocates did not report the matter to any police station but hired the individual officers in their individual capacities as law enforcement officers to conduct the operation.
“It has been established therefore, that: 1. The operation and detention of nine Chinese nationals by three police officers and Nathan and Lewis Advocates was illegal; 2. Chelstone based police officers were not involved in the said illegal operation; 3. The three police officers involved in the illegal operation cheated that they were from the High Court of Zambia Police Post when they were in fact from different formations (i.e. Police Headquarters and Mass Media Operations Point); 5. Nathan and Lewis Advocates did not report the matter to any police station, but hired the individual officers in their individual capacities as law enforcement officers; 6. One of the nine Chinese nationals detained is a complainant in a matter before court, in which Chinese nationals being represented by Lewis Nathan Advocates had in connivance with some police officers been abducted and nearly deported illegally, 7. The police officers in the abduction and attempted illegal deportation are currently before court with the same Chinese nationals behind the illegal detentions herein and, 8. The officer-in-charge Chelstone Police station was not aware of the illegal operation and handled the matter professionally,” Dr Mulenga stated.
“The conduct of the three police officers was in conflict with police service ethics and conduct. They also put the name of the Zambia Police into disrepute and the Government of Zambia may be sure by the persons that were illegally detained. Above all, they detained nine Chinese nationals illegally and abused their positions as law enforcement officers. Finally, but not the least, they violated the rights of the Chinese nationals and risked undermining the warm relationship between the People’s Republic of China and Zambia.”
He asked Kanganja to direct the suspension of the officers.
“To put the matter to rest and ensure that similar events do not occur in future, you are requested to direct the immediate supervising officers of the three officers to first, charge and put the three officers on suspension pending the outcome of the Disciplinary hearing in accordance with the Disciplinary Code and Procedures for Handling offences in the Public Service Section 22(a) (ii) by citing Category C: 9(a) (iii) Non-compliance with established procedures or standing instructions i.e failure to follow established procedures; and (v) unethical conduct by a public officer i.e. conduct which does not conform with one’s profession, dignity, integrity or which brings the service in disrepute. Your quick action would be highly appreciated,” wrote Dr Mulenga.