Police yesterday arrested 14 National Registration Bureau (NRB) officers in Mzuzu after Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Grace Chiumia, accompanied by armed police officers, ambushed a meeting they were holding to demand arrears dating back to May 2017.
The minister is alleged to have been tipped off about the meeting that was being held at Shoprite premises in Mzuzu on Sunday. After hearing about the meeting, Chiumia went undercover to establish what was being discussed.
However, it is alleged that some NRB officers got to know of her presence which saw her leaving the place and returning later with police officers who arrested the NRB officials.
Northern Region Police deputy spokesperson Maurice Chapola confirmed the arrests of 14 officers who he said were part of the meeting at Shoprite. He said other suspects ran away.
Chapola said the arrest came after Chiumia discovered NRB officers holding a meeting to map the way forward on arrears, but did not inform government of the said meeting.
The suspects have since been charged with unlawful assembly and conspiracy to commit a felony. They are expected to appear in court today.
“The officials were supposed to inform government about the meeting. They were supposed to get consent from Mzuzu City Council and police. They cannot just hold such kind of a meeting.
“We have also taken a statement from the minister,” said Chapola.
Asked if the registration exercise will continue in the city following the arrest, Chapola assured that the exercise would continue.
Chiumia did not pick our calls despite several attempts.
However, NRB spokesperson Norman Fulatira said he had been informed of the arrest of about 14 NRB officers. He said he did not have details.
Fulatira also said the matter was also beyond him as there are reports that the minister ordered their arrests.
“I do not have details regarding the arrests. I am just hearing that 14 have been arrested and the minister is said to have been on the ground. The issue is at ministerial level so it’s hard for me to comment,” he said.
However, he confirmed that there are arrears dating back to May this year. n