The family of a young man, who was murdered in Nsanje in December 2018, has accused police of failing to arrest suspects who they claim are intimidating witnesses and bragging that they are untouchable.
Charles Bulaimu, brother to Christopher Bulaimu, 26, whose body was found in the Shire River at Nsanje Port on Christmas Day, claims the police have failed to arrest suspects that were last seen with the deceased before his body was found the next day.
Charles said the deceased was working with Partners in Health (PiH) in Nsanje and was in the company of friends on December 24 when he disappeared only for his dead body to be recovered in the Shire River the next day.
He said the family was not convinced by the explanation from police in Nsanje that the deceased had drowned.
The family then engaged services of forensic pathologist Dr Charles Dzamalala who confirmed that the deceased died due to manual strangulation.
A post-mortem report case number CPD/PM/QECH/124/18 dated January 31 2019 signed by the pathologist reads in part: “Death was due to asphyxia following an act of manual strangulation. The fresh injuries on the body are ante-mortem injuries and thus suggest defence/protective injuries during a struggle.
“The body was thereafter immersed or thrown into water, as there was no clear evidence of true drowning, in order to create an impression of suicidal drowning, thereby disguising an act of strangulation. No evidence of any natural disease process was noted.”
The family has since petitioned the Inspector General (IG) of Police Rodney Jose who has assured them that police will strive to vacate an injunction some people obtained on the matter, according to Charles.
Charles said: “All we want is justice. Initially, we were made to believe that our relative had drowned. But through our efforts we discovered that he was killed. There are people out there walking freely who were seen with him before he disappeared.
“All we want is the truth. We are surprised that up until now the police have made no arrest even after sharing with them the autopsy report.”
Deputy National Police spokesperson Thomeck Nyaude confirmed in a telephone interview on Thursday that the family lodged the case with the police.
He also said the police was served an injunction restraining it from effecting any arrests.
Said Nyaude: “I can confirm that the case was registered with police and that we were served with a court order whose details I cannot divulge, considering the sensitivity of the matter. We have since referred the injunction to the Attorney General’s office. But as law enforcers, we are proceeding with our investigations and a team from the regional Criminal Investigation Division [CID] South has been dispatched on the case.”
In a written response, Malawi Law Society (MLS) honourary secretary Martha Kaukonde questioned the prevention of an arrest through a court order in a criminal matter.
She said: “Clearly, you cannot get a civil court order to stop processes under criminal law. Someone, somewhere is being economical with the truth. They can contact the office of Director of Public Prosecutions [DPP] for assistance.
“The police operate under the DPP when prosecuting criminal cases. If there is no order, the police cannot be powerless. They can act. If there is resistance, the matter can be escalated higher to the regional or headquarters for the police service. If that still fails, they can contact the DPP.”
Meanwhile, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs spokesperson Pilirani Masanjala has said the Attorney General’s office has no record of the injunction on this case. n