Hichilema opts for silence

UNITED Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema yesterday opted to remain silent and refused to answer any questions from the police after he was summoned in connection with his claims that he has been receiving intelligence briefings ahead of republican President Edgar Lungu.

Meanwhile, a police officer escaped beating by UPND cadres at Woodlands police station after he attempted stop the cadres from pulling down a Patriotic Front (PF) flag that was flying at the police station.

Mr Hichilema who arrived at Woodlands police station at about 10:25 hours amid tight security was immediately ushered into the interrogation room where he declined to respond to the many questions that were put to him.

On Tuesday, police conducted a search at Mr Hichilema’s residences in Kabulonga and New Kasama looking for Government’s classified documents and State secrets suspected to have been illegally obtained and police later summoned him for interrogations over his claims.

The police also quizzed Mr Hichilema over his claims that President Lungu had offloaded in excess of US$10 million for a programme allegedly meant to destabilize and weaken the UPND ahead of the 2016 general elections.

Mr Hichilema was also summoned by the police in connection with his claims that President Lungu had allegedly sent five intelligence officers to South Africa to investigate his (Hichilema) source of funding for the January presidential campaign.

The police have since recorded a warn and caution statement from Mr Hichilema over the three claims and have instituted investigations into the allegations and claims.

Police spokesperson Charity Munganga Chanda told journalists that Mr Hichilerma remained silent during the interrogations but that a warn and caution statement had been recorded against the UPND leader.

“We summoned Mr Hichilema over three of his claims that he receives first-hand intelligence information before the Head of State is briefed and the claim that President Lungu has offloaded US$10 million to allegedly distabilise and weaken the UPND ahead of the general elections in 2016.

‘‘Mr Hichilema also claimed that President Lungu had sent five intelligence officers to investigate the source of funding for Mr Hichilema for his presidential campaign in January and he opted to remain silent during the interrogation but a warn and caution statement has been recorded against him and investigations are continuing,” Ms Munganga Chanda said.

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