My names are Benson Jani, a truck driver living in Lusaka.
My wife and my six months old baby went missing on 23rd March 2021 in Kabwe.
My father-in-law was jailed in 2014 and died in 2018 after an illness.
On Saturday 20th March 2021, my brother in-law who lives in Mongu western province received a phone call from unknown person who identified himself as a prison warder from Kabwe. The man “prison warder” told my brother-in-law that there are some gifts for them at Mukobeko prison in Kabwe that came from donors in Australia.
My brother in-law believed the call was truly coming from a prison warder since his father ‘my late father-in-law’ was first taken to Kabwe Correctional Service, later on to Mwembeshi and then Chimbokaila after developing an illness until his demise.
On that same day 20/03/2021 after knocking off from work my brother in-law gave my wife the phone number of the so called “prison warder” so that they can make arrangements for her to go and collect their gifts in Kabwe, Mukobeko prison.
At that time my wife had gone to Mongu to visit her siblings and the rest of the family, her first travel after giving birth.
On that same day 20/03/21 she managed to communicate with the man impersonating a prison warder and she was asked to rush to Kabwe as soon as she could manage since the parcel had been kept for some time by the prison without being claimed.
On 21/03/2021 my wife traveled from Mongu to Lusaka with our little baby so that she can get to Kabwe on Monday morning 22/03/2021 to correct their gifts.
On Monday 22/03/2021 I was scheduled to start off for my routine journeys from Lusaka going to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
I offered my wife a lift to Kabwe since the city is along the way. Unfortunately I couldn’t start off early that day due to a few truck maintenance that had not been done over the weekend. I told my wife to use public transport so that I don’t delay her further to go and attend to her family program.
She called me later on telling that she communicated with the “prison warder”, he told her to meet him on Tuesday 23/03/2021 so that he could assist her to collect the parcel.
With all the delay at my work place, I started off with my wife from Lusaka around 4pm (16:00) 22/03/21 and reached Kabwe after half past 7pm (19:30) and parked the truck at Kabwe Mall where we spent a night.
The following morning me and my wife with our baby on her back, stood by Kabwe Mall entrance looking for a cab to take her to Mukobeko prison and that’s where she hopped on a taxi.
Since that day 23/03/2021 her cell phone went off till date, the cell phone of the impersonating prison warder also went off the same day till date.
I proceeded to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and crossed back to Zambia via Nakonde border on the 19th of April 2021.
On 24th April 2021 I reported my self to Kabwe central police where I was required to give a statement since I was the last contact with my wife.
After giving my statement, the police said my wife is just one of the other victims that went missing in Kabwe through the same scenario. All the people that are missing including my and daughter it’s either they have relatives in prison all had relatives in prison.
My question to Zambia Correctional Service is; why is information of inmates that is suppose to be very confidential in wrong hands
My second question is for Kabwe central police;
Why is it taking so long for the police to get to the bottom of this serious issue that requires special attention.
I feel many more lives are at risk in my country Zambia through this syndicate. I need answers to these questions and many other questions that keep on juggling in my mind.
To our republican president Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, please give this surfacing problem attention and get to the bottom of it.
To my fellow Zambians, let us stand against this cruel act by this unknown syndicate.
Let us stand against this leakage of confidential information of inmates from our correction services.