AUXILIARY police officers at the Dar es Salaam Port are accusing regular officers in Temeke Police Zone of collusion and protection of thieves who steal cargo at the port.
Citing the recent foiled attempt to steal copper worth 1bn/- as well as 420 litres of oil as "a tip of an iceberg," the port guards said involvement of police officers in stealing goods at the port has existed for a long time. "The recent incident has helped to shed light on collusion of the law enforcers on incidences of theft at the port," a port security officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.
Other sources at the port also accuse the police of not taking appropriate action on suspects who are apprehended by the port guards, on the pretext of not having sufficient evidence. "There are a number of culprits who have been arrested in the past by the auxiliary police only to be freed under suspicious circumstances.
"Unlike the police officers, port guards have no authority to arraign suspects in courts. Once they (the port guards) apprehend suspects they hand them over to the police for further legal action," the sources confided to this paper. Reached for comments on Tuesday, the Temeke Regional Police Commander (RPC), Mr David Misime, said he had not aware of the allegations.
He was also quick to add that the commission formed by the Commander of the Dar es Salaam Special Police Zone, Mr Suleiman Kova, should be left to complete its work. "The commission will work on the last weekend attempted theft and loopholes that make stealing of cargo at the harbour possible.
Anyone with evidence on the allegations should come forward," Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Misime, said. Adding; "Even the police officer that was arrested in connection with the Saturday's thwarted attempt was not under my command but rather that of Tazara (Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority)."
Mr Kova told a news conference on Monday that the police are holding 14 people, including a police officer PC Abubakar who is attached to Tazara, in connection with the attempt, while two suspects are still at large. Mr Kova also disclosed during the meeting that the police had formed a ten-people task force to investigate alleged theft syndicate at the Port.
At the same time, the police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident of an auxiliary police officer, Mr Cornel Kufahaiehuru, who went missing since last Saturday after he had headed an operation to arrest suspects who allegedly attempted to steal copper worth more than 1bn/- at the Dar es Salaam Port. Incidents of theft of cargo at the port of Dar es Salaam have been rampant over the years forcing local and foreign traders to shun the port for other harbours in neighbouring countries.