M’membe Post Courier copper theft trucks still held

 Pressure is mounting on police in Solwezi to prosecute people involved in the multi- million Kwacha copper heist in which two trucks belonging to Fred Mmembe of the Post Newspapers, were impounded carrying copper that was stolen or illegally obtained.

This follows reports that the ‘docket’ and related documents had been sent to Lusaka.

 And some Anti copper theft unit officers in Solwezi have complained that they have been cautioned against discussing the matter. The officers are concerned that though the copper was impounded almost three weeks ago, the matter has not gone to court although the culprits were apprehended.

The officers are still investigating whether the impounded consignment was the only contraband to have been transported by the trucks or whether there have been other consignments before this seizure.

Concerns have also been raised on why there have been delays in prosecuting those believed to be involved in the case with suspicions mounting following the disappearance of files in Solwezi.

But Police commissioner has insisted that the docket was in Solwezi and that the case will take off on August 13 in Solwezi Magistrate Court 1.

The files are believed to have been taken to Lusaka on instructions from people connected to the state and sources within the police raised the red flag against the way the case was being handled.

Police sources in Solwezi have told the Daily Nation that the files involving Post Courier trucks were taken to Lusaka but after noticing that some officers were uncomfortable in the manner the case was being interfered with, the files were sent back to Solwezi.

The sources also revealed that the officers handling the case were being intimidated not to prosecute the case but maintained that the matter will come up on 13th August 2013 in Solwezi Magistrate court 1.

The officers maintained that the matter, as far as they were concerned, would be heard in a Solwezi court unless the people who had requested for the files changed their mind.

“The files of this case were taken to Lusaka but we understand that they have been brought back, as far as we are concerned the matter is supposed to come up next week in the magistrate court and we hope all will be well. As police, we are also trying to locate where the Copper ore came from and where it was loaded from,” the sources said.

But North Western Police Commissioner Eugene Sibote has denied speculations that the files had disappeared from Solwezi and that they had been taken to Lusaka.

He also denied that police officers investigating the matter were being intimidated.

Mr Sibote however, could not give details as efforts to confirm the movement of the files were frustrated when the NorthWesternProvince police commissioner abruptly terminated the conversation and his mobile phone switched off.

Last week, the Daily Nation reported that Post Courier International Haulage trucks belonging to Mr M’membe had been impounded on suspicion that they had been laden with stolen copper ore.

Further details revealed that they were being loaded at a grotesque residential place, a place where no such transaction would be expected to take place.

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