‘PO­LICE LIED ABOUT CTPD MEET­ING’

Daily Nation Newspaper - - HOME NEWS - By NA­TION RE­PORTER

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.

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