POLICE spokesperson Rae Hamoonga has warned citizens to be careful with what they post on social media because anybody from any part of the country can raise a complaint against them.
Recently, PF Information and Publicity Secretary Raphael Nakacinda urged police to stick to the principle of jurisdiction when conducting arrests saying it was abrogation of the law for them to ferry suspects to other parts of the country where the alleged crime did not take place.
But in an interview, Hamoonga argued that social media was far reaching and therefore, anyone in the country could file a complaint about any offensive post they saw.
“Where is the crime scene, because if you post something on social media and somebody sees it in Lukulu or Ikelenge or anywhere, it means that person who has seen has no right to complain? It’s not like it’s only a special sector or group that can report a matter, no, if somebody has said something which borders on the defamation of the President and somebody sees it based in Lukulu, can he wait for somebody in Lusaka to report? No, he can go to the police station and report, so it’s a tie,” Hamoonga said.
“People should be weary that some of these things for instance in terms of social media, you cannot say that this thing was committed this side, where, because it’s a crime. When someone sees on social media, he’s a complainant himself and he has the right to come and complain, so when you are posting something on social media, be careful with what you post on social media because we are all Zambians, we are all equal before the law so anybody can complain.”
Hamoonga said there was no law which stipulated that it was only people within the same locality as the suspect who could report matters to the police.
“Secondly, there is also an aspect of when you stay away from the scene of commission of the crime, if somebody kills somebody here in Lusaka, they can be reported anywhere but the matter and the offence will be done here, ‘the jurisdiction of the offence is this side because that crime is localised,’ but when you post something on social media, somebody sees it elsewhere and he feels there is a crime committed, what stops them from reporting to the police station? Nothing stops them from doing that. You can report to the police station and then the police will investigate and then all those issues of coming to jurisdiction of the offence will come after investigations, where did this happen? But it does not stop the police officers from investigating, no,” said Hamoonga.
“So somebody reports a crime and then the police investigate, then the issues of jurisdiction will come after all has been finalised, and then you to say ‘where did this offence occur?’ But that does not stop police officers from investigating. The police can investigate that matter and if they find that this case we are investigating falls under this jurisdiction, at times even before the investigations are concluded, he can be taken where he is supposed to be tried from but it’s not like it is a preserve of people from same localities to report matters, no, anybody can report a crime.”