Some police officers from Bvumbwe Police Unit are demanding around K12 million in payments from former finance minister Joseph Mwanamvekha for guarding his private garage from November 2019 to June this year.
But Mwanamvekha claims he paid the officers.
Police officers, who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals, said they started guarding Mwanamvekha’s garage located in Chigumula in Blantyre City as a private duty in November last year.
Their services were terminated a day before elections on June 21 and they were not paid for their services, they said.
An officer at the station told Weekend Nation that every day two police officers armed with a gun were tasked to guard the garage after a break-in was reported mid last year.
He said for private duties, each police officer is entitled to receive K20 000 and K10 000 and a government general receipt (GR) is issued.
For two officers, Mwanamvekha was supposed to spend K60 000 per day, the officer explained.
This means from November last year to June 21, the former minister owes the police officers over K12 million.
When contacted on Wednesday, Mwanamvekha confirmed that he engaged the said police officers, but referred Weekend Nation to get more details of the payment issue from Limbe Police Officer-in-Charge Bob Mtekama.
Asked if he paid the officers, Mwanamvekha insisted that we speak to Mtekama, saying he followed all right producers to get the officers.
“People just take advantage when these issues happened. OC Limbe will tell you the truth of the matter otherwise I followed the right procedure to get the officers to guard my place,” he said.
But Mtekama was surprised why Mwanamvekha mentioned his name, saying he never dealt with him on the matter.
“Let him tell you who received money for the officers who used to guard his garage. He was not paying us. Ndalamazo amupatsa ndani? [Who received the money?]
“What I know is that he never paid the officers after guarding his garage,” said Mtekama, who asked this reporter to further talk to Southern Region police spokesperson Ramsey Mushani for more details.
Mushani said Mwanamvekha did not pay the officers up to June 21.
“Yes, we have been deploying our officers to guard his garage but he [Mwanamvekha] did not pay them,” he emphasized.
The police spokesperson said Mwanamvekha requested police to guard the garage after thugs invaded the premises and stole some items.
“When the incident happened, we deployed officers, but that was a normal duty and we did not receive any cash.
“[But] later, he [Mwanamvekha] requested for security which was then a private duty and he was supposed to pay them which he did not,” said Mushani.
Two officers who have been guarding the garage said they have been pushing for their allowances after guarding the garage, but their top bosses could not provide a proper response.
“We just stopped asking, of course we at times agreed to start boycotting guarding the garage but it never worked,” said one officer.
“But we were surprised that those who guarded the garage on June 20 and 21 were given an allowance. And from that day, we were told not to guard the place,” he added.
Another senior officer from Bvumbwe Police Unit said Mwanamvekha used his powers as a minister to demand for security.
“We couldn’t do otherwise but to release officers. There was nothing we discussed regarding payment,” he said.
However, Mushani said the officers have the right to write their station officers on the matter to be assisted on the payment.