The Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) has refused to let the Anti Corruption Commission (DEC) prosecute its officers who were caught on CCTV footage getting a bribe from a suspect.
Three DEC officers based in Chipata arrested a suspect they found with cannabis but while he was in detention, they told him to pay them K10 000 so that he can be released.
The officers are Justine Kachunga, Edward Zulu both investigators and Thomas Muzumara a prosecutor.
The accused person said he could not afford K10 000 but had K5 000 at the bank, which he could give to them.
But after paying the K5000 bribe, he was taken to court after the three DEC officers assured him that it would be just a formality he would acquitted that same day. That was about two weeks.
But the magistrate convicted him and charged him K5000 in lieu of imprisonment, meaning that if he failed to pay, he would be jailed.
In one of the most dramatic scenes in the Chipata magistrate court, the now convicted person shouted on top of his voice that ‘imwe guys, what about the money I paid you”? He was pointing at one of the DEC officers.
The magistrate asked him what he was talking about. He explained what happened.
The ACC and office of the president officers who were in court immediately took up the matter and started investigating.
ACC and OP investigations discovered CCTV footage showing the three DEC officers standing behind the suspect withdrawing money at one of the ATMs in Chipata at night.
The time on the footage showed that it was around 22 hours but evidence in court by DEC showed that at that time, the suspect was remanded.
But when ACC completed its investigation and were ready to arrest the three, DEC, acting on the report given to them by ACC dismissed the three officers from employment.
DEC reasoned that once the three are dismissed, they would not be prosecuted and will therefore not reveal more corrupt activities in the DEC.
The senior officers at DEC feared that they might be directly or indirectly implicated in the three officers were to be prosecuted.