Police in Solwezi have arrested a Lebanese national and four Zambians for allegedly stealing 23 bags of Copper Ore believed to be from Kansanshi Mine in Solwezi.
Police have since recovered the 23 x 25 kg bags of copper ore and the motor vehicle, a minibus which they hired to transport the stolen copper ore, from town centre to Kyasukuma area.
North-Western province police commissioner Eugene Sibote confirmed the arrests and identified the suspects as Ezidin Karim, 44 of plot 120 stadium area, who is believed to be the master mind of the alleged theft, Justine Subakanya 26 and Emmanuel Siku 25 both of Kyafukuma area.
Sibote said others were Moses and Clive Bweupe aged 18 and 23 of Kimasala area.
“I can confirm that the above-named have been arrested for stealing 23bags of Copper ore believed to be from Kansanshi Mine in Solwezi. Police have also recovered the copper ore and a mini-bus which they hired to transport the Copper,” Mr Sibote said.
Sibote said the five were arrested after a tip-off from members of the public on Saturday around 15.00hours who spotted them in a public service bus registration number ACT 812 along the Muzabula-Kyafukuma road.
“The police officers started trailing the vehicle and upon realizing that they were being trailed, the suspects abandoned the vehicle and run into the bush,” He said
Mr Sibote said the officers managed to tow the vehicle to the police station and later the Lebanese national phoned one of the officers to assist him in retrieving the bus.
He said the suspect offered the officer K1000 and arranged that they meet so that the officer could collect the money and that four people would be sent to retrieve the vehicle.
Mr Sibote said the police officer, in the company of Anti Corruption Commission(ACC) officers went to the arranged place where Karim gave him K 500 and promised to pay the balance once the vehicle was released.
“After abandoning the vehicle that contained the copper ore, Karim called one of the police officers to assist him in retrieving the vehicle and offered him a total of K1000 with an initial payment of K500.
“They arranged where to meet and that was how the police officer involved the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) officers in the matter,” he said. Mr Sibote said Mr Karim, who is proprietor of Anglo mining black horse based in Kitwe has since been charged with one count of theft of copper ore and attempting to bribe a public officer.
The other four who went to collect the vehicle were charged with theft of copper ore respectively.