Widow of police superintendent Usuman Imedi has cried foul over her failure to access compensation money from the government, 10 months after she was issued with a cheque.
Imedi was stoned to death by a mob in Msundwe area in Lilongwe in 2019 as he led a group of police officers assigned to restore order in the area.
Malawi News has learnt that on its part, Malawi Police Service (MPS) processed and disbursed her late husband’s gratuity.
The money was shared among members of Imedi’s family, including the wife, who used her portion to buy land and build a house.
But it is the compensation that is stuck in government coffers and all she has been left with is a cheque that has also expired.
She is now struggling to fend for her three children, one of whom suffers from epilepsy.
Speaking at her Area 24 home in Lilongwe, Majamanda said in September 2021, she collected the cheque which had been issued three months earlier in June.
Since then, she has been moving from one government office to another after the bank turned her back with the cheque.
“It has been quite an exhausting process; I started with the Labour Office and the Workers’ Compensation offices until I got the cheque in September last year.
“I went with it to the District Commissioner’s office in Mangochi [Imedi’s home district] whose officials told me that the bank said there was no money,” Majamanda explained.
The 46-year-old widow said she is struggling to raise school fees for her two older children, such that one of them missed the first term of the current school calendar.
“It is my wish to give them a future through education, but all that is difficult because I do not have the resources.
“I am not getting convincing answers from the people who are supposed to help me with my case, from both Treasury and the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM),” she said.
The cheque, whose number is 001141 and was issued under invoice number WC/214/2020, has since expired.
The problem is that the details on the cheque are not reflecting in the system of the designated bank where the government account is.
She disclosed that of late, she has been in touch with Workers’ Compensation Office which has been helping her to push relevant offices to have the matter concluded.
An official at the office, Develius Chiwalo, said: “It is a concern for us to hear that she has not yet accessed the money. We took the matter up with Treasury, and we are yet to get desirable feedback,” he said.
Asked what technical glitches are there that are making cashing of the cheque impossible, Treasury spokesperson Taurai Banda asked for a questionnaire which he had not yet responded to as we went to press.
“It sounds to be a serious matter; send a questionnaire I will respond,” Banda said.
But a senior officer at the department said on condition of anonymity that the problems with the cheque are supposed to be resolved by the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM).
When we checked with Julius Banda, an RBM official who we were informed is handling the matter, he refused to divulge details, referring us to their spokesperson Ralph Tseka.
“The information you are looking for is confidential. Submit a request through the bank’s spokesperson who should ask me for details,” he said.
Our efforts to talk to Tseka however proved futile as our calls went unanswered after several attempts.
Imedi died in line of duty in October 2019 when he led a team of 20 police officers to restore order at Nsundwe in Lilongwe where violent post-election protests were happening.
After investigations, the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) recommended that government should compensate the widow and that police should institute criminal investigations into Imedi’s death.