Malawi Police Service (MPS) has made a breakthrough in the murder of Issa Njauju, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director of corporate services, following the arrest of a Mchinji-based police officer on Thursday.
Three police sources corroborated that Sergeant Titus Thombozi has become the second police officer to be arrested in connection with the murder. The other officer Christopher Naphiyo is on remand after he was denied bail in January this year.
Police have made several arrests in connection with the July 2015 macabre murder of Njauju who went missing for two days before his body was found by sand miners half-buried and his official vehicle, a Totota Hilux double-cabin pick-up, destroyed in a different location.
Three different sources within MPS corroborated that Thombozi was picked on Thursday in Mchinji before being transferred to Lilongwe.
The suspect was remanded at Lumbadzi Police Station in Lilongwe before he was taken to court on Friday, according to one police source.
The sources indicated that Thombozi was attached to Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) at Mchinji border, but he was operating from Mchinji Police Station.
Said another source: “Officers from Lilongwe went to Mchinji where he was arrested after he picked a quarrel with a female friend whom he had previously told about his involvement in the murder [of Njauju].”
Yet another source told The Nation that the woman tipped off the police after the quarrel.
The source said Thombozi was allegedly found with a rifle in his possession which police are investigating the source.
Thombozi has since been remanded to Maula Prison awaiting formal charging in court.
However, both the National Police spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa and his deputy Thomeck Nyaude have been unreachable since Friday.
An attempt to seek comment from the Inspector General of Police Lexten Kachama proved futile as he was reported to be attending a funeral yesterday, but his deputy (operations) Rodney Jose said he was yet to be briefed by the Criminal Investigations Unit.
He said: “Being a Sunday, I would imagine I will get a report if this has happened on Monday.”
ACB deputy director Reyneck Matemba said the police have an investigative unit on the Njauju murder and the ACB is briefed periodically.
He said the last update was two weeks ago when a suspect was picked over the murder and that there has not been another update since.
Said Matemba: “ACB has not been briefed if there has been a latest arrest but police would be in a better position to brief us on Monday.”
Since Njauju’s murder, this will be the fifth arrest but the suspects have not appeared in court or the leads have turned cold.
The first suspect to be arrested and charged with murder was Frank John who was found with Njauju’s mobile phone handset after donors stressed that the murder was an attack on the justice system and fight against corruption.
Post-mortem results revealed that Njauju’s body had bullet wounds in the neck and stomach.