Police brass ‘eats’ K60m for quelling ‘demos’

The K60 million allocated to the Malawi Police Service last week and meant for allowances for riot and other general duties of police officers who were expected to quell “mass demonstrations” in Malawi has ‘disappeared’.

A highly placed senior police officer confided in Nyasa Times on Thursday that the all-inclusive Public Affairs Committee (PAC) consultative meeting being held in Blantyre was also “budgeted for under the same allocation” as government feared it was meant to propel “regime change”.

However, according to the senior police officer, who pleaded for anonymity, the police top most brass that received the money and were to disburse it to all regional offices for “operations” misappropriated the funds. This has led to PMF officers refusing to patrol the streets from Wednesday when the PAC conference opened at the Catholic Cathedral in Limbe.

“Instead, the police that have been deployed in the streets of Limbe and Blantyre and the surrounding townships are PMF recruits from the Police Training College at Kanjedza and Mtakataka; most of them, accompanied by very few senior PMF officers as supervisors and in case the situation really turns volatile,” he said, adding that the recruits have only been in training for three months instead of the recommended six months before they can be sent on serious ‘operation’.

Money has exchanged hands amongst top cops

“We have been sent back to our various stations because we were asking for our money after 21 days of service. What can the recruits do if there was an eruption of violence? It could be chaos,” said one of the police officers who were initially deployed to quell the ‘imaginary’ demonstrations.

A snap check by Nyasa Times in Blantyre indeed proved the PMF recruits on the streets amidst the PAC Conference were drafted into the situation after the ‘senior’ PMF ‘gun and ammunition-totting officers refused to “work for free”.

A PMF recruit confirmed in an interview with Nyasa Times their appearance on the scene was as a result of an “emergency” as they still had three months to finish their training at the college.

Police publicist Davie Chingwalu said he needed to make a ‘research’ before commenting on the matter but confirmed “some of the PMF officers are new recruits as part of their practicals”.

Still there was heavy security presence in the streets of Malawi’s three major cities of Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu.

The development comes following allegations without evidence by the Bingu wa Mutharika administration that the much anticipated PAC conference was aimed at toppling the regime.

Meanwhile, Police have said they will use force should delegates to the conference agree to call for a nationwide protest.

The conference has brought together over 100 delegates representing all the sectors except government and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) who have boycotted the meeting.

On Monday, government successfully managed to order Mount management of Soche Hotel to cancel bookings of the conference in an attempt to have the meeting fail.

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