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New DEC Boss- Justice at last?

Filed under: Special Comments |

By Dickson Jere
Some 15 year ago – the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) – found itself in a quagmire. Its boss then – Ryan Chitoba – was embroiled in corruption and abuse of office allegations that almost destroyed the reputation of DEC. The case was reported to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). But then an internal purge within DEC was launched to get rid of those perceived to have leaked information about the abuse of resources within DEC. The fight was nasty!
You see, decades ago, I happened to be a student at Munali Boys Secondary School. I, together with the likes of Minister Mike Mposha, Radio DJ Kalumba Chikonde or “K-Smach”, Lawyer Osborne Ngoma, among others, were members of the Munali Debate Club. Our Patron was a youngish bespectackled teacher called Nason Banda. He was reputed for discipline and used to “whip” culprits. He also coordinated anti-drugs clubs and programmes in schools. A very immaculate man.
Anyway, he was poached by DEC and joined their education department that was situated at Society House in town.
DEC was headed by another former Munali Boys Secondary School teacher Mukutulu Sinyani. The two former teachers worked well until Sinyani left and was replaced by policeman Chitoba. By that time, Nason Banda had risen through the ranks and became DEC spokesman as well as Assistant Commissioner.
The Post newspaper broke the story about corruption within DEC. The anti graft watchdog – Transparency International Zambia – joined the furore. It demanded that President Levy Mwanawasa should sack DEC boss Chitoba to allow smooth investigations by ACC.
But in an unprecedented action, police moved in and arrested Nason Banda – the Assistant Commissioner – and accused him of being in possession of state secrets. His house was raided and searched before he was unceremoniously hounded out of his office. They accused him of aiding the officers who spilled the beans on how operation money was being chewed by seniors. “Warn and Caution” statements were recorded. Banda is believed to have been a victim of circumstances and political persecution.
It is almost 15 years now. Yesterday, Nason Banda was sworn-in as new DEC boss, which effectively means being reinstated and promoted. I hope the dreams he had then to clean up the institution will be materialized since he is now the overall boss!


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