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Bob Mtekama’s death inquest commences

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Pilirani Masanjala

Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa, who is sitting as a coroner, has begun an inquest into the death of former director of Criminal Investigations Department at the Malawi Police Service Bob Mtekama, who died on August 4 2020.

The aim is to establish what killed Mtekama, who was at the centre of investigations into several high-profile cases, including the death of Anti-Corruption Bureau director of corporate affairs Issa Njauju, who died in 2014.

The State paraded three witnessed Wednesday; two serving officers and one retired, all from the Southern Region.

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The witnesses visited Mtekama days before his death and the day he died at the hospital in Blantyre.

The three are retired Police commissioner for the South Sledge Yusuf and Commissioner for the South Lenford Kamphika. The third one is Sub Inspector Kesta Kapawala, who is Police Welfare Officer in the Southern Region.

Yusuf told the court that he was a close friend of the deceased, further indicating that he knew Mtekama as diabetic, which resulted in the former chief crime sniffer frequenting Lilongwe for treatment.

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He, however, said he did not know which hospital Mtekama was going to for treatment.

He further claimed that the Inspector General of Police called him several times, wanting to know if Mtekama was suffering from Covid.

“I denied it because nurses or his relatives never told me that he was suffering from Covid,” said Yusuf.

He, however, said he did not know what killed Mtekama despite stressing that he was suffering from diabetes.

In his evidence, Kapawala told the court that, before the body was carried from Blantyre to Nkhotakota where burial took place, it was disinfected for Covid by medical personnel.

He further informed the court that only the driver and himself were in the vehicle that carried the remains to Nkhotakota, where villagers who handled the body were provided with protective gear.

“After the burial, I was in isolation for 14 days but I did not show any signs or symptoms, and I was not tested for Covid,” he said.

Senior State Advocate Pirirani Masanjala told reporters outside the court that the inquest aims at establishing facts surrounding the demise of Mtekama.

“What the coroner is trying to achieve is to know all the facts. Basically, how did he die, who was involved in his death, if at all, and what was the cause of his death,” he said.

Masanjala added that, most of the time, there is, during an inquest, exhumation of the body for experts to conduct a postmodern and scientifically identify the cause of death.

On August 22 last year, High Court Judge Annabel Mtalimanja granted the State an order for an inquest into the death of Mtekama after the State, through the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, had asked the High Court to grant the order.

The State asked for the order indicating that Mtekama’s relatives were not satisfied with reports that he died due to Covid; claiming, instead, that he was poisoned.

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