Police release on bail city council boss

Blantyre Police over the weekend released on bail Chief Security Officer for Blantyre City Council (BCC) who was arrested last Friday for soliciting money from Blantyre street vendors.

Police said the city council employee Patrick Luhanga Chikoko was released on police bail after being charged with a minor case of conduct likely to cause breach of peace which has surprised many

“Yes we released him on Saturday after he was charged with conduct likely to cause breach of peace,” said Blantyre Police spokesperson.

The spokesperson explained that Chikoko was charged with a minor case because “his case was not to do with soliciting money but rather the conduct which he demonstrated.”

Ironically, police told Nyasa Times after his arrest last week Chikoko was nabbed for allegedly soliciting K50 000 from vendors outside the Blantyre Flea market.

“We never caught him with the said money and it also transpired that he was not soliciting money from the vendors that is why we have given him that charge,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the chief security officer is back in office and working normally and Nyasa Times correspondent saw him disembarking from a white BCC security department vehicle registration number BQ 7696 at the Engineering Department at Ginnery on Tuesday.

BCC Public Relations Manager Lunzana Khanga could not be reached when contacted for comment on the council’s position.

But an officer at the administration section said the matter had not officially reached their office yet as such “we cannot act.”

“We just heard that he was arrested but officially the matter has not reached us. We will find out and then see what to do,” she said.

Ordinarily, the officer said, if the office establishes that Chikoko was indeed arrested for soliciting bribe he will be suspended from work until his case is concluded.

The chief security officer was nabbed last Friday by six police officers from Blantyre Police Station for allegedly soliciting K50 000 from vendors outside the Blantyre Flea market.

A Zingwangwa based mobile phone’s accessories dealer who plies his trade at the Blantyre Flea market entrance told Nyasa Times then 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 sometime. 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.

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