At least three desperate and unsuspecting job seekers have been left poorer and in more misery after being duped by conmen who promised to offer them places at Limbe Police Training School in Blantyre last year.
One of the victims, Godfrey Mangani, 25, of Chipho Village, T/A Nsabwe in Thyolo claimed on Tuesday he paid K225 000 to someone who identified himself as Herbert Mhango to buy his way into the training school.
Said Mangani: “I met this man after several of us were withdrawn from the training in November 2016. I was withdrawn after I had been in training for four days. This man, clad in police uniform and moving from one office to another at the PTS, came to me and promised to take me back into training if I paid him K200 000.
“I went home, raised K100 000 from relatives and piece-work (ganyu) and paid him. Two months later, I paid him the remaining K125 000. That was before I had the shock of my life a few days later when I discovered I was dealing with a crook.”
Eluby Majamanda, 22, from Bvumbwe almost shed tears as she recalled how she was fleeced of her K114 000 by a man she says she had all the reasons to believe would help her.
“He promised to get me a place at the Police Training School. It never occurred to me that he would not assist me from what he was saying and his appearance,” Majamanda said.
Another victim, Tamandani Kalumbe from Limbe, who claimed he paid someone K175 000, vented his frustration at the failure by authorities to bust the scheme which he claimed had left many young people helpless.
“We are not the only victims. If nothing is done many more people will be swindled in similar manner. I paid this money in December 2016, but I have only discovered this month after police at PTS said the man I paid money to tricked me,” he said.
Unconfirmed reports say the scheme has been running since the last police recruitment in November 2016 when about 500 recruits were withdrawn from training after it was discovered they were recruited through the back door.
National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera confirmed the development in a telephone interview on Tuesday.
“It is true that a man was picked last week on suspicion that he was soliciting money from people after promising to get them places at our training institutions. At the moment, he has been committed to prison, on remand, to pave the way for investigations,” said Kadadzera.
Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Grace Chiumia, in a telephone interview on Tuesday, said she would institute an investigation into the matter as the issue had brought the recruitment exercise into disrepute.