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Attorney General for inquest on Buleya Lule’s death

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By Audrey Kapalamula & Macdonald Thom:

KAPHALE

Attorney General (AG), Kalekeni Kaphale, has advised Malawi Police Service (MPS) to undertake an inquest into the death of Buleya Lule, the suspect in the abduction of a boy with albinism from Dedza, Goodson Makanjira.

Lule died in police custody in February 2019.

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Kaphale has given the advice in a response to a request for guidance which Inspector General(IG), Rodney Jose, sought from him following a report on Lule’s death that Malawi Human Right Commission (MHRC) released.

National Police deputy spokesperson, Thomeck Nyaude, Tuesday said the AG has advised the police to undertake an inquest in line with the Inquest Act.

“We can confirm that the IG has received the legal advice from the AG that an inquest should be conducted in line with Section 6 of Inquest Act and, meanwhile, the process of the inquest is under preparation,” he said.

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Lule was among six suspects that were arrested following the abduction of Makanjira in Dedza in February 2019.

Kaphale confirmed giving the legal opinion but referred the matter to the police for more details.

“I gave them my legal opinion and the way forward. If the police want, they can disclose but, as a lawyer, I cannot disclose the content of my legal advice,” he said.

The commission’s report implicated nine police officers with a recommendation that they be investigated on the role they played in Lule’s death.

Some C Division’s four officers, who escorted the suspect from Lilongwe Principal Magistrate Court to Lilongwe Police Station after he had appeared in court, were also implicated.

It further recommended that the IG’s office should institute criminal investigations on all police officers who arrested the victim on February 18 2019.

Recently, MPS also said it had instituted a taskforce to establish circumstances that led to the death of Lule, whose wife has since taken the government to task, demanding compensation.

Meanwhile, the State has finished parading witnesses in a case in which five people are answering charges of abducting Makanjira.

The suspects—Kumbilani Patson, Sainani Kalekeni, Lucas Kagomo, Katiyo Mizeck and Wisikesi Gana—yesterday appeared before Judge Chifundo Kachale at the High Court in Lilongwe.

The State paraded last witness, Lawrent Robson.

According to Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs spokesperson, Pilirani Masanjala, Kachale is, on July 9 2019, expected to rule whether the five have a case to answer.

“The State came to parade the last witness. We have closed our case. We are expected to file our submissions on whether the accused persons have a case to answer, two weeks from now, on the 19th of June and the court is expected to make a ruling on whether the accused persons have the case to answer by the 9th of July. The ruling will be delivered in Dedza,” Masanjala said.

Apart from the count of abducting in order to murder contrary to Section 261 of the Penal Code, the five each are answering three counts of unlawfully wounding Stephen Chiwaya, Braim Lackson and Veliya Lackson, as stipulated in Section 241(a) of the Penal Code.

Initially, there were six suspects, but one of them, Buleya Lule, died in police custody in February 2019.

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