The Malawi Police Service (MPS) have instituted a probe into the death of Bob Mtekama, director of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). Mtekama was at the centre of investigations into several high profile cases, including the 2014 death of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director of corporate affairs Issa Njauju.
Inspector General of Police George Kainja, who had re-appointed Mtekama to head the CID, confirmed on Thursday that they have instituted investigations following speculation of foul play in the death.
Kainja said he was personally concerned about Mtekama’s untimely death, believing he would significantly help in dealing with some outstanding cases.
“It is something we are treating as a matter of urgency because Malawians want to know the truth. I may not state the timeframe but we are already on the ground and we will make sure we conclude it as soon as possible,” he said.
The IG said Mtekama was a strategic person and a well-qualified officer suited to head the CID. Kainja, who referred to Mtekama as a crime-buster, said he is devastated with the death, considering the targets they had agreed.
“As an organisation, honestly, we are mourning Bob. We gave him some targets and by now some of those targets would have been met. But here we are. In this situation, we will make sure that we meet the targets we set to have investigations concluded,” added the IG.
Mtekama died last month barely a month after been appointed as head of CID with his family disputing police claim that their relation died of Covid-19.
He was tasked to handle high-profile cases, which included the death of Njauju’s mysterious death and that of Buleya Lule’s, who was suspected in an albino abduction case but died in police custody.
Former president personal bodyguard Norman Chisale is on remand in a case where he is suspected of involvement in the Njauju case. While 12 police officers are on bail for their alleged hand in Lule’s deat.
Speaking in separate interviews, both late Mtekama’s widow Caveness and younger brother, Majido, alleged that the Covid-19 narrative was cooked up to conceal the truth about the death. The family also accused the Southern Region police office of ‘misinforming’ Area 30 on Mtekama’s condition.
“It is not true that he died of Covid-19. As a family, we cannot buy that. The medical report from [a doctor] indicated that he died of kidney failure and diabetes. There is no indication of Covid-19. So where did Covid-19 come from?” queried Mtekama’s widow.
She indicated, further, that the family intends to lodge a complaint with the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC).
Majido alleged that the Southern Region police office had fed the headquarters with wrong information on Mtekama’s condition and eventual death. He said there is reasonable amount of suspicion to suspect foul play in the death of their brother.
Majido further claimed that on the day Mtekama died there was someone, he could not mention, who had invaded the room where Mtekama was admitted at around 4 am.
“There is more that we know. We are waiting for the expiry of 40 days of the traditional mourning in line with Islamic values and by September 14 we are meeting as a family to decide on the way forward. We will detail what happened for people to know the truth,” said Majido.
Ministry of Health Principal Secretary Charles Mwansambo, commenting in general terms, said there is nothing wrong with a private hospital keeping a patient who has tested positive to Covid-19 as long as there is adherence to Covid-19 guidelines such as ensuring that such patients are isolated.
He declined to comment specifically on Mtekama’s death.
“Generally, we have observed that people do not want to accept that their relations have died of Covid-19, especially when there is an underlying health condition. They would rather talk of the underlying health condition and not Covid-19,” said Mwansambo.
WHO guidelines stipulate that the death report has to indicate, not only the cause of death, but also if the deceased was Covid-19 positive.