Matero police cash in on ‘shishita’

Police are investigating claims that Matero Police were last Friday arresting people indiscriminately from whom they demanded money and whom they released as soon as they paid.

Those arrested were picked up from Lusaka’s Emmasdale  area along the notorious ‘‘Devil’s Street’’.

Assistant police public relations Officer Esther Katongo said she was not aware that some people had been arrested for ‘‘shishita’’, saying that it was unfortunate that some police  officers arrested people and released them upon giving them money.

Ms Katongo said people should only be apprehended for loitering late at night and only after failing to explain what they were doing.

She said those arrested should be detained at the police station and issued with government receipts upon payment of admission of guilt fines.

Ms Katongo said the police have a mandate to ensure that people in the communities were protected and added that the police would continue apprehending people who are found idling.

She said the police are also mandated to enforce all the laws in Zambia and have no boundaries.

Ms Katongo  urged people moving at night after knocking off late to produce identity cards.

The officers who were driving a Zambia Police Van arrested an undisclosed number of people for shishita on Friday night during a routine night patrol in the area.

Those arrested were only released after paying the officers some money and those who failed to meet their demands were taken to Matero Police station and released on Saturday after payment.

Last month, the Director of Public Prosecutions Mutembo Nchito said ‘‘shishita’’ was illegal and that Police should not abuse their powers.

Mr Nchito said there was no law that mandated police to arrest people found walking to their homes at night.

He said the police were overstepping their authority by arresting and charging people who were found moving at night as there was no law in the Constitution which gave them powers to do so.

Mr Nchito observed that some people worked late in the night hence the need to allow them to move freely unless they were found in a situation suggesting that they were contemplating to commit criminal activities.