Police nab city council boss for soliciting bribes

Blantyre Police on Friday evening apprehended the Chief Security Officer for Blantyre City Council (BCC) for allegedly soliciting money from street vendors in the city, Nyasa Times can confirm.

The officer, Patrick Chikoko, was picked outside the Blantyre Flea market at around 5:40pm near Blantyre Bus Stands.

“Yes I can confirm that we have arrested Mr Patrick Chikoko for being suspected of soliciting bribes from vendors. He is currently under police custody,” said a police officer who was part of the arresting team.

The officer said Chikoko was arrested by six plain-clothed police officers led by Sergeant Mataka from Blantyre Police Station who descended on him as he was busy negotiating with the vendors.

According to our police source, Chikoko was at the time of his arrest on a white Toyota vehicle registration number BQ 7694 belonging to the council’s security department.

“According to our preliminary investigations, the suspect is alleged to have demanded K50 000 from the vendors who included two Kenyan nationals,” he disclosed.

At the time of filing the report, the suspect had not yet been charged as police were reportedly still trying to get in touch with his office particularly is two assistants, Davie Malema and Peter Chipanga, whose mobile phones were both not reachable.

Ironically, Chikoko works with the same police officers who picked him when they are conducting patrols along the city streets where they also confiscate vendors’ items that are sold outside designated points.

Chikoko joined Blantyre City Council as chief security officer in December last year following the death of former head of security a Namakhwa.

Before coming to BCC, the suspect was a teacher at Bwaila Secondary School.

A Zingwangwa based mobile phone’s accessories dealer who plies his trade at the Blantyre Flea market entrance told Nyasa Times Chikoko had been soliciting money from the vendors for some time so that they are not chased from their illegal vending points.

“He is a regular. He has been pocketing for some time. At times, he just sends his boys to collect while he remains in the vehicle but this time the amount he demanded was just too much.

“And again what irked the guys was the fact the he only demanded the money from Malawian vendors when next to them there were two Kenyan vendors as well and this is what made him reported to police,” explained the vendor.

Last week, former President Bakili Muluzi called on the BCC Chief Executive Ted Nandolo to swiftly consider doing something to the city streets as vending is slowly returning and turning the once sparkling streets eyesores.

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