A Marketing Assistant at the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) in Mpongwe District on the Copperbelt Province has been arrested by Police for allegedly stealing 330 by 50 kg bags of maize valued at K82, 500 belonging to the agency.
Copperbelt Police Commanding Officer Peacewell Mweemba has identified the suspect as 38-year old Ernest Katongo, 38, based at FRA’s Depot in Bwembelelo area of Mpongwe District.
Mr. Mweemba said Katongo was apprehended by Police in Kapiri Mposhi after running away from Mpongwe District.
Mr. Mweemba said the suspect was reported to police for removing bags of maize from the shed on 6th January, 2023 without the knowledge of the FRA Headquarters in Lusaka.
He said FRA security investigations discovered that bags of maize in question were taken using a truck registration number AJE 9465 belonging to Orbet Mutambo of Lwano District in Central Province.
Mr. Mweemba has told news reporters in Ndola that the maize in question is yet to be recovered by law enforcement agencies.
“Theft by Servant occurred on 06/01/2023 at around 1400 hrs at Food Reserve Agency Depot in Mpongwe situated at Bwembelelo area, Mpongwe in which male Ephraim Mvula aged 36 of Silverest, Lusaka, Security Co-coordinator FRA Headquarters Lusaka, reported on behalf of Food Reserve Agency Mpongwe, that male Enest Katongo aged 38, the Marketing Assistant at FRA Mpongwe Depot, stole 330 X 50kg bags of maize valued at K82 500, the property of FRA,” Mr. Mweemba said.
He said besides the internal FRA security findings, Police have launched their own investigations into the matter.
“Brief facts are that on 08/01/22 the reporter received security information that male Ernest Katongo who is the in charge at Mpongwe Depot FRA had removed bags of maize from the shed without the knowledge of the FRA Headquarters in Lusaka. The FRA security made a follow up to Mpongwe on Thursday 12/01/2023 and verified the information. It was discovered that 330 bags of maize were missing from the shed, and male Ernest Katongo was nowhere to be seen. He stopped reporting for work. Thereafter FRA security with the help of Paramilitary Police Officers attached to FRA made their own investigations and came to discover that bags of maize in question were taken using a truck registration number AJE 9465, trailer registration number AJE 9464 belonging to male Orbet Mutambo of Lwano District, Central Province. Later, the suspect was apprehended in Kapiri Mposhi and taken to Mpongwe police for further police action. Docket of case opened, arrest made but recovery not yet made,” Mr. Mweemba stated.
Meanwhile, Police in Chingola have recovered missing copper cathodes at Tinglong Investment Limited in Gykhana located off the Chingola-Kitwe Road.
The recovered copper cathodes are in connection to a reported case of breaking into the building case reported on 11th January 2023 in which Wellington Beremauro aged 49 of Chingola, manager at Aman Processing company reported that 11 tonnes of company copper blisters were stolen after 3 of his security guards were tied and copper amounting to K1, 600, 000 stolen.
“Investigations were instituted into the matter and no copper blisters valued at the said price was stolen, and no Aggravated robbery took place at the said company, but rather the guards connived with Peter Kapembwa aged 32, of 32 Railways road, Chiwempala and two of his colleagues only known as Richard Chilebela and Singogo to steal the copper cathodes which were later recovered at Tinglong Investment Limited of plot no 8413/m, Gykhana, Chingola off Chingola Kitwe Road. Investigations further revealed that the recovered copper was stolen from CCM mine, and was sold to M/Wellington Beremauro the manager at Aman processing company, who was later summoned for further investigations, and revealed that the report he gave to the Police about copper blisters being stolen at his company was false,” Mr. Mweemba said.
“He disclosed that the criminals stole copper cathodes, which he bought from M/Jimmy Ndumba, aged 37 of House Number. 37 Chiwempala Road Chingola and not copper blisters as earlier reported. He led the Police to the arrest of the suspect Jimmy Ndumba, who also revealed that he stole the copper cathodes from CCM mine with the help of two workers from CCM mine, and sold to Wellington Beremauro of Aman Company. The recovered copper cathodes (plates) were identified by CCM mine as their copper through the labels marked on it.”
“Wellington Beremauro was charged with two counts; giving false information to a public officer, and receiving stolen property, and was later detained together with Xuan Tinglong aged 49, a Chinese National, Guo Hetian of plot no.8413/m Gymkhana Chingola for the subject offence. However, the two Chinese nationals and Wellington Beremauro were later released after recording statements from them. So far, three suspects have been charged for breaking into a building and committing a felony therein, and two suspects will be charged for theft of copper. Investigations continue to apprehend two suspects for breaking into the building and omitting a felony therein, and two suspects for Theft of copper, who are still at large,” Mr. Mweemba stated.