At least 22 people have been arrested in Kasungu for allegedly establishing settlements in Kasungu National Park illegally.
The suspected encroachers were arrested after officials at the Park informed the police of their illegal presence in the protected area.
Among the 22 is 37-year-old Precious Phiri who is Senior Group Village Headman Nthunduwala.
The district police spokesperson Edwin Kaunda said the suspected encroachers argued that they were advised by Phiri to build houses in the park.
The village headman allegedly collected K5000 from each of the encroachers and before the arrest he already pocketed K293, 000 from 125 villages on pretext that the money would be paid to the district commissioner.
The group is expected to appear in court soon to answer charges of obtaining money by false pretence, defamation and encroaching into the protected area without permit.