Peter Mutharika’s stepson, 5 others plead not guilty


Six people, who are answering charges of murder and human trafficking in relation to the death of 30 immigrants, pleaded not guilty of the crimes levelled against them when they appeared before the High Court sitting in Mzuzu Wednesday.

The six are former president Peter Mutharika’s stepson Tadikira Mafubza, Samuel Navaya, David Luhanga, Thomas Kazembe, Duncan Kalulu and Boniface Ngulube.

Mafubza is currently on court bail.


The case came before High Court judge Gladys Gondwe, who has adjourned it to June 8, 2023 for bail ruling and fresh plea taking.

The accused will take plea again after the court directed the State to go back to its drawing board and rework on the two charges the six are answering.

Lawyers for four of the accused persons applied for bail whose ruling the judge has reserved to the next hearing.


Commenting on the court’s direction for the State to amend the charge sheet, Chikondi Sam Duke from the Legal Aid Bureau, who is representing Luhanga and Kazembe, said the charges will be clearer now.

“The charges were framed with some information missing. Now, our clients will be able to understand the actual charges against them and how to respond,” Duke said.

In his response to the bail application, State lawyer David Kuyokwa asked the court to allow the State to make written submissions to the application, saying they were not aware of it.

The court has since allowed the State, which disclosed that it will parade 14 witnesses, to file the response within seven days.

The first accused, Navaya, did not apply for bail, but rather asked the court to move the Malawi Prison Service to provide blankets for him while he is on remand.

Mafubza, who was present in court, was arrested on November 23, 2022 in connection with the death of 30 suspected victims of human trafficking whose bodies were exhumed from a mass grave in Mtangatanga Forest Reserve in Mzimba on October 18, 2022.

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