Swedish journalists arrested in Zambia for criminal tresspass

Swedish journalists arrested in Zambia for criminal tresspass

Sophia Djiobaridis

Sophia Djiobaridis

A Swedish journalist and a photo journalist together with their Zambian guide have been arrested on allegations of breaking into a private residential property to take videos.

The three are expected to appear in court today on a charge of criminal trespass.

Swedish journalist Sophia Djiobaridis, who works for Swedish TV along with his cameraman Ake Wehrling and their Zambian guide Charles Mafa, who works for the Bulletin & Record Magazine, were arrested last Saturday. The three were arrested while attempting to take videos of ZNFU executive director Ndambo Ndambo’s residential property without  permission.

They were detained at Lusaka Central police until Monday (May 2, 2016) when they were released on police bond.

The journalists said they were working on a story in which Mr Ndambo has been implicated in financial impropriety in an on-going audit at ZNFU. They are said to have earlier sought permission to interview him but Ndambo declined, saying he did not wish to jeopardize the on-going audit process and the on-going investigations by DEC. The DEC has been investigating the matter since February 9.

The journalists, however, decided to enter Ndambo’s property without his permission and they were subsequently arrested and detained by police.

Police records also show that the Swedish journalists didn’t have any accreditation with the Zambia News and Information Service (ZANIS) as required by the law and they could have been “anything other than journalists”.

“Nobody wants to stop journalists from doing their work, but journalists are urged to follow the law and ethics as they go about doing their work. There’s no excuse for breaking the law to get a story. The consequences for breaking the law are very clear and journalists are not spared,” said a policeman who did not wish to be named.

Another source close to the matter wondered why some people were not prepared to let the audit and investigations be completed before they could nail Ndambo on the cross.

“You understand that there’s an audit process at ZNFU, which hasn’t been concluded yet.  Also the DEC have been investigating the matter over the last 80 days but have not yet charged Ndambo. As things stand, he’s innocent until proven otherwise. Why can’t people wait for the processes to take their full courses? Why are people so keen to charge and hang him in the press? What’s the rush? ” the source questioned.

A person with inside knowledge explains that there’s a bitter fight for 3.6% shares in Zanaco, which belong to ZNFU but which a few greedy individuals  led by Galaun, Guy Robinson and Dick Muijs, among others, want to fraudulently obtain. Apparently, Ndambo has been very instrumental in blocking these individuals from obtaining these share, leading to this gang orchestrating a spirited campaign to have Ndambo removed from ZNFU in order to eliminate all opposition.

The shares are currently held by Lizara Investments, a special purpose vehicle that was created when ZNFU took the loan from the Livestock Services Cooperative Society to buy the shares. ZNFU has since petitioned the High Court in Lusaka to dissolve Lizara and have the shares transferred to ZNFU.

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