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 DPP sits on Mtekama inquest

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By Mandy Pondani

Malawians and the family of former head of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Malawi Police Service (MPS) the late Bob Mtekama will have to wait a little bit longer before they know what exactly killed the renowned crime-buster.

This is because Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is failing to come out clearly on whether it launched an inquest in Mtekama’s death three months after the High Court granted an order for it.

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Judge Annabel Mtalimanja in August, 2021 granted an order for inquest to the State, which included a post-humus autopsy to establish the cause of death, after the family protested information from MPS that their relation died of Covid-19.

But Speaking on behalf of DPP, spokesperson for Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Pirirani Masanjala Friday said they do not have substantive responses, when asked if they had commenced the investigation.

“While we made the application, we reckon it is too early to respond to these questions,” Masanjala said.

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The development has rattled the family of the deceased, who have asked government to consider roping in international experts to speed up the process.

A family member who asked for anonymity said yesterday closure on the death of Mtekama is not just for them but Malawians in general, chiefs in Nkhotakota, his friends and workmates who had faith in his professional capabilities.

The late Mtekama was at the centre of investigations of high-profile criminal cases in Malawi including that of the death of Buleya Lule, Issa Njauju and Robert Chasowa.

“Everyone is interested in the speedy conclusion of this matter. You know justice delayed is justice denied,” he said.

He expressed concern that the longer it takes to investigate the matter by way of conducting a postmortem on the deceased’s exhumed body, some pieces of evidence might get lost along the way.

In February 2020, Mtekama’s family wrote Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) asking for an independent investigation into the death of their relation, who they suspect was poisoned.

They also claimed a stranger sneaked into the late CID boss’ hospital room in the wee hours of August 4 at Blantyre Adventist Hospital who was acting suspiciously and claimed he was a police officer when confronted.

Asked on how far they have gone with the inquiry, MHRC Director of Civil and Political Rights Peter Chisi said they had made progress but decided to put the probe on hold after the court ordered for an inquest by the DPP.

“So with that development, as a commission, we decided that ours can as well wait.

Meanwhile, we are waiting for that process at the DPP’s office,” Chisi explained.

He then reiterated the family’s concerns that they were never furnished with any medical report regarding Mtekama’s sickness and death apart from the police’s public notice [on August 5, 2021] which alleged he succumbed to coronavirus, with a history of diabetes which led to injury of kidneys.

Mtekama died on August 4, 2020 a month after he was reinstated to the position of head of CID after he was removed by the Peter Mutharika administration.

During the month, he cracked on the Issa Njauju murder case which saw the arrest of security aide to the former president Norman Chisale, the Buleya Lule case and the Area 24 family murder case among others.

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