Police secretly release Mzuzu suspects
Just a day after Police in Mzuzu said they were still keeping in custody the five suspects arrested in connection with the political violence that occurred in Mzuzu last week The Daily Times can reveal that the suspects are out of custody but not on police bail.
An independent investigation by this paper established that the five Francis Kasyololo, 30, George Mwamtobe, 38, Lumbani Munthali, 29, Clive Nthakomwa, 52 and Thembisire Nkosi, 32 were released three days ago without following legal procedures.
Some of the suspects were seen walking freely past Times Group office and Nthakomwa had a chat with one of our reporters.
The revelation comes a day after Officer-in-Charge for Mzuzu Police, Effie Sato, said in an interview on Monday that investigations were still underway and that the suspects were still in the cooler.
Quizzed on why they lied to the nation by saying they were still keeping the accused persons beyond 48 hours custodial rule provided for in the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code, Deputy Commissioner of Police for the North, Peter Chasweka, downplayed the question and referred this reporter to Northern Region Police publicist, Maurice Chapola.
Chapola asked for time for a response. He, however, failed to give the information by our press time.
But Chapola stormed our Mzuzu Bureau, demanding a source of our earlier story which revealed that the suspects implicated Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) senior officials in the fracas.
Reports indicate that two days after the first arrests were effected on March 21, 2016, top government officials gave directives for the release of the suspects midway police investigations.
According to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code of the Malawi Police Service, at the expiry of 48 hours after any arrest, a suspect is supposed to be brought before a court of law where they are furnished with reasons for their detention a thing which did not happen in this case.
An inside source, however, told The Daily Times on Monday that preliminary investigations on the matter point at senior government officials who took advantage of the in-fighting in the People’s Party (PP) to mastermind the violence which left about five people injured.
Reacting to the development, Acting National Secretary for Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), Martin Chiphwanya, said it is regrettable and unfortunate for Malawi to be served by a police service that can actually lie to the nation.
“It is unfortunate that police can be compromised to such an extent. If this is the way they are proceeding in this case, then they themselves deserve to be investigated on the matter because it paints a very bad picture of them, bearing in mind that on the material day they were nowhere to protect citizens,” said Chiphwanya.
Chiphwanya further said Malawians deserve an honest and truthful police service since it operates on tax-payers’ money, and thus called on authorities to seriously look into the matter.
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