Police in Lilongwe have arrested four suspects in connection with theft and vandalism at Bingu National Stadium (BNS). They were found in possession of galvanised poles used for enhancing the facility’s perimeter fence.
But, while confirming that he was aware of the arrests, BNS operations manager Eric Ning’ang’a claimed the poles were not stolen from the facility but, rather, the camping site for Chinese contractors. Ironically, the said contractors operate from within the stadium complex.
But Lilongwe Police Station spokesperson Kingsley Dandaula told The Nation yesterday that one suspect was arrested for being found with one pole at a welding shop in Mtsiriza Township on December 25, two days before three others were caught selling four similar items in Mtandire Township.
The four suspects are Kings Binson, 37, from Witikiti Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Chadza in Lilongwe; Gift Mitopa, 27, from Bwanali Village, T/A Mabuka, Mulanje; Desiyere Weja, 22, from Chilingale Village, T/A Khwethemule, Thyolo and Mike Richard, 24, from Zonsezi Village, T/A Somba, Blantyre.
“The suspects are currently in custody at Lingadzi Police Station waiting to appear in court after we finalise our investigations and recovery of the items. The Chinese contractors at the stadium have confirmed the items belong to the facility,” he said.
However, although Dandaula said armed police officers and a private security company guard the entire stadium site, Ning’ang’a said he does not know the security detail for the camp of the Chinese contractors.
“The stadium was not tampered with as portrayed by the police. It is the camp of the Chinese contractors, who are close by,” Ning’ang’a said.
“No one can steal such materials from the stadium because it is highly secured by armed police officers, who can shoot to kill any thief or vandal.”
Director of sports in the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Jameson Ndalama could not be reached for comment at press time.
The 40 000-capacity stadium is the country’s biggest sports arena for both local and international events.
Since it opened its doors, there have been reports of theft and vandalism at the stadium. In addition, utility bills have also been a problem as government has on several occasions delayed to release money for water and electricity.