‘POLICE LIED ABOUT CTPD MEETING’
POLICE acted arbitrary to disrupt a meeting called by the Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) with clerics in Ndola. CTPD board chairperson Isaac Mundia said claims by Copperbelt Police Commissioner Charity Katanga that the meeting digressed from discussing the budget to politics were not true. Mr Mundia said the meeting held in Ndola with the clergy was meant to help them understand financial flows through tax avoidance, evasion, among other things, and how they could contribute positively to end such following their request. Mr Mundia said at a press briefing in Lusaka yesterday that at no time did the meeting with the faith leaders digress into a political discourse and that there was no illegality or any malice perpetrated during the meeting as alluded to by Ms Katanga. “The presentation that was to be made at the meeting on the issue was the same presentation CTPD recently presented and submitted to the Expanded Parliamentary Committee for Budget Estimates on October 8, 2018,” he said. He said that it was, however, sad that the Copperbelt Police command did not give any due diligence to ascertain the nature of the meeting, but moved quickly to disrupt it and arrested the pastors and CTPD staff members. Ms Katanga two weeks ago told the News Digger newspaper that police arrested pastors and CTPD officials who gathered to discuss the national budget but digressed from the topic and started talking about politics, which angered other participants. She said all those who were arrested later paid admission of guilt fines because they were remorseful and did not want to have the matter taken to court. However, Mr Mundia said Ms Katanga was misinforming the public to claim that “we went to beg the Copperbelt provincial minister for forgiveness and accepted the charges when that was not the case.” “We would like to make it clear that at no point did any member of the CTPD board or staff meet either the minister or the Copperbelt police commissioner to beg for any lenience,” he said Mr Mundia said the decision to accept paying the fine alluded by Ms Katanga in her statement, was arrived at following consultations they had with the church leaders and the families of the affected staff from the CTPD. He explained that the decision also came after considering the concerns and the trauma that their families endured during their incarceration for simply discussing a public document. “As a board we are concerned that instead of promoting more dialogue and constructive debate around the issues of national concern, the Zambia police is taking the limited space away from citizens without undue cause,” Mr Mundia said.
We would like to make it clear that at no point did any member of the CTPD board or Staff meet either the minister or the Copperbelt police commissioner to beg for any lenience.” — Mr Mundia.