The Malawi Police Service (MPS) has instituted criminal investigations into the alleged involvement of former president Peter Mutharika and his aide Hetherwick Ntaba in the murder of a 22-year-old man with albinism Macdonald Masambuka, the law enforcers have said.
MPS deputy spokesperson Harry Namwaza said they are acting on the directive made by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Steven Kayuni, who recently asked police to institute criminal investigations against the two.
“Criminal processes are a process. Now, whenever we receive an order or a directive from the DPP, we act on it. This time around we received the directive to commence these investigations. We are acting on it but we cannot disclose how we are going about it because criminal investigations are internal affairs.
“Findings of the investigations inform the decisions we make, whether to prosecute or not; so, we would not want to prejudice the public before the investigations are done,” Namwaza said.
In a letter dated July 1 2022 to the office of the Inspector General of Police, Kayuni directed police to commence criminal investigations following some testimonies in the Masambuka case, where some of the suspects implicated the two in the case.
Kayuni also noted that the newly promoted Justice of Appeal Dorothy Nyakaunda Kamanga, delivering her judgement then as High Court Judge, wondered why no investigations were undertaken to substantiate the said allegations
“In accordance with the law, the directorate is of the opinion that criminal investigations be instituted against the said allegations and references made by the High Court judgement,” he said.
Both Mutharika and Ntaba, in separate press statements, slammed the proposed fresh investigations, calling them a waste of time and resources.
In his statement, Mutharika claimed that he left in the Office of the President a report from the Commission of Inquiry into the murders and abductions of people with albinism which was led by Justice Reidson Chinangwa, challenging Chakwera to make the report public.
“It, therefore, serves no public interest for the President to hide the contents of that report from the public, whose right it is to know its contents. But it seems characteristic of the current presidency to keep the masses guessing and in the dark regarding matters of public interest.
I, therefore, urge him to release the report of the commission of inquiry.
“I have a copy of the report but, out of respect for the presidency, I leave it to him to release it. But if he does not, then I will be compelled to make it available to the public,” Mutharika said.
He observed that the report of the commission of inquiry contains the truth of the matter and would also form a basis for an investigation that the DPP has called for.
“I reject these allegations and challenge the government to release the report and proceed with its investigations. It is purely false, malicious and evil propaganda.
“I want to challenge Dr [Lazarus] Chakwera and his government to focus on decisively acting on their corruption scandals, the current economic crisis and begin to provide leadership to save Malawians, who are suffering from the rising cost of living, instead of wasting time labouring to destroy my name and reputation,” he said.