Saturday, August 28, 2010

Police refuse to arrest Changwe

Police refuse to arrest Changwe
By George Chellah
Fri 27 Aug. 2010, 09:30 CAT

POLICE have refused to arrest and prosecute gender deputy minister Lucy Changwe for bouncing a cheque worth K10 million in a house purchase transaction. Roger Musonda, the owner of the property disclosed that the police yesterday informed him about their decision not to prosecute Changwe.

“The commanding officer Central province, the commanding officer Kapiri Mposhi who is also in-charge of Mkushi and the divisional criminal investigations officer Mr Bwalya came to Mkushi this morning around 09:30 hours.

They invited me for a meeting at Mkushi police station and I met them in the presence of the officer in-charge herself who was with the criminal investigations officer for Mkushi,” Musonda said. “Mr Bwalya said the reason for their coming to Mkushi was to come and inform me that they can’t proceed any further in the case of bouncing of the cheque by Changwe.

They said that the reason behind their decision was that at the time of issuing the K10 million cheque, Changwe had K23 million in the account on the 21st May 2010.

“They said that because of that she can’t be prosecuted because the cheque, which I deposited the same day on the 21st May, 2010 was given to me when she had money in the account.”

Musonda said the police even showed him Changwe’s bank statement from Finance Bank.

“On the bank statement, I saw that Changwe issued cheques worth K31 million between 21st May, 2010 up to the 27th May, 2010. She issued cheques worth K31 million against her bank balance of K23 million. So by the time my cheque of K10 million reached Finance Bank in Lusaka, her account only had a K2 million balance to which the bank could not effect payment of my K10 million,” Musonda said. “I told the police that according to my interpretation, the cheque bounced because Changwe did not take care of her bank account. She drew more money from her account without the concurrent deposit because my understanding is that this is why the bank could not effect the payment. Therefore, there is no way the police can say they can’t prosecute her because it’s the same Changwe who issued all the other cheques worth K31 million knowing fully well that she only had K23 million in her account.”

Musonda wondered why the police could not leave the matter to the courts for determination.

“They came with the law book, which they were trying to explain to me. But my understanding is that the Zambian constitution only empowers the judiciary to interpret the law and not the police. They came with the law book and they were busy reading the Act to me with a view to justify their action but I am not convinced,” Musonda said. “I still believe that the people were not supposed to interpret the law because that’s the prerogative of the courts. According to me, the bank could not effect payment because at the time the cheque moved from Mkushi to Lusaka there was no money in Changwe’s account.”

Musonda said it was strange that the police who are literally fishing for excuses were now attempting to blame the bank and not Changwe.

“The police who are supposed to enforce the arrest and take the matter to the courts to interpret the law are refusing so it’s up to people to make their own judgment,” Musonda said. “The police have even given me the original banking slip, original bounced cheque and the advice note from the bank.”

Musonda said he was considering taking up other options.

“Since the police are failing to enforce criminal proceedings, I am now considering taking up a civil action against Changwe,” said Musonda.

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