By ROGERS KALERO
Police on the Copperbelt have arrested Six people in connection with the theft of 35 tonnes of copper cathodes valued at more than US$585 000 which they were supposed to transport to Lusaka.
Copperbelt Police Commissioner Peacewell Mweemba confirmed the arrest of the six which happened between Wednesday and Friday and said the contraband belonged to Access Logistics Transport Company of Ndola.
Mr Mweemba said incident was reported to the Police by the company operations manager Muhammad Abdikani, who said that their driver Brian Kambinda stole the copper cathodes with others unknown.
He said Kambinda was driving a white Volvo truck registration BAJ 8334 with the copper cathodes.
Mr Mweemba said the cathodes were loaded in the truck for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in Kolwezi on Tuesday and passed through Kasumbalesa border on Wednesday.
He said the truck was believed to have started off from Kasumbalesa to Ndola but it never arrived.
“This made the owners suspicious and reported the matter to the police. The investigations led to the arrest of three suspects in Chingola, where the truck was parked for safe custody overnight. The police officers conducted a search along the route and found the truck abandoned at Sabina-Kalulushi road turn off and that the truck had no copper cathodes while driver was nowhere to be seen which prompted police to institute investigations in the matter,” Mr Mwenda said.
Mr Mweemba said the suspects were interviewed and revealed that the copper cathodes were delivered to Kitwe.
He said police officers later deployed civilians at Zamtan police check point along Kitwe-Ndola dual carriage way where they spotted a Volvo FH truck registration BAX 5413 and informers alerted the police who impounded the truck and apprehended three suspects while one of them managed to escaped.
Mr Mweemba identified the arrested as Sydney Chilufya, 39, a truck driver of Kamwala, Joe Phiri, 36, a general worker of Bulangililo and Benjamin Katungu, 30 of Lilayi and that the fourth suspect who managed to run away has only been identified as Tito of Kawama Township.
He said after interrogations the suspects identified that the owners of the copper were only known as Herbert, Emmanuel and Ernest and said a manhunt for the three suspects plus the one who escaped had been launched.
“The other three suspects are detained in custody while the truck is parked at the police and the actual owners of the copper identified the tent and belts used on the impounded truck as theirs” he said