A total of 14 witnesses are expected to testify in the inquest into the death of former director of Criminal Investigations Department (CID) at the Malawi Police Service Bob Mtekama, the State said Thursday.
Mtekama died in Blantyre under mysterious circumstances on August 4 2020.
The 14 witnesses include five police officers who testified on Wednesday and Thursday.
Thursday, Head of CID for the Southern Region Master Gondwe and Detective Duncan Gama from National Police Headquarters in Lilongwe testified before Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa, who is sitting as a coroner.
Gondwe told the court that Mtekama’s relatives told him that he died of Covid while Gama said, after his investigations, he concluded that he died of the same disease.
According to Gondwe, a brother to the deceased, Stambuli Mtekama, who is also a police officer at Muloza Border Post in Mulanje District, told him on the day of the former chief crime sniffer’s death that his brother had died of Covid-related complications.
Gondwe said the then Deputy Director of CID Emmanuel Soko sent him to the hospital to check the condition of the deceased, where he met Stambuli and a hospital attendant at the reception, but was denied entry into the room because Mtekama “was very sick and sleeping”.
The next morning, he was informed that Mtekama had died and that, when he went to the hospital again, Stambuli told him that his brother had died of Covid-related complications and that he had already signed documents confirming the cause of the death.
Gondwe added that doctors at the hospital advised them that the body should be left alone in the vehicle on the way to Nkhotakota because Mtekama had died of Covid, such that it was buried by people that wore personal protective equipment.
“I am not a medical doctor but what I was told by his relatives is that he died of Covid,” he stressed, adding that, after about three weeks, another doctor from the Philippines informed him that Mtekama had died of Covid.
On his part, Gama told the court that he was assigned to investigate the death of Mtekama after allegations that he was poisoned.
He told the court that, in his investigations, he went to Seventh Day Adventist Hospital in Blantyre, where he met a doctor who gave the detective, in writing, details of what he had found.
The Covid test samples were taken to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital through the Blantyre District Health Office for re-examination and it was confirmed that he had coronavirus.
The detective went on to say when he tried to get a statement from Stambuli, he refused, but another brother to the deceased, Abdul Majid Mtekama, only complained that his brother was poisoned while at the hospital but declined to give a statement.
“Then I made up my mind that Mr Bob Mtekama died of Covid as per results I got,” he said.
The inquest commenced on Wednesday this week when retired commissioner for the South Sledge Yusuf, Commissioner for the South Lenford Kamphika and Sub Inspector Kesta Kapawala, who is the Police Regional Welfare Officer in the Southern Region, testified.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.