A suspect in the murder of McDonald Masambuka, a person with albinism (PWA), has claimed that a senior police officer forced him to hide names of government officials suspected of involvement in abductions and killings of PWAs.
Chikondi Chileka, who was a police officer at Mselema Police Post in Machinga, on Tuesday testified in the High Court in Blantyre before Judge Dorothy NyaKaunda Kamanga after the court adjourned the case on November 28 2019.
The eighth accused, who claims to have once conducted investigations into abductions and killings of PWAs, said he carried an investigation instituted by National Police Headquarters under the Anti-Organised Crime Department which found that two senior government officials (names withheld) were involved in buying the PWA bones. However, senior police officers ordered him not to include the names in his report.
Looking calm and composed, Chileka told the court that he opted to quit as an investigator after the orders.
He said: “The director of Criminal Investigation Department [CID] asked us to follow the orders and avoid mentioning the two names. One of the officers advised me that if I withdraw, it will look like I want to leak the information.”
He further told the court that head of CID in the Eastern Region Alex Chibwana later called him on the telephone to ask his position on his plans to withdraw.
“I told him that I would not proceed with the investigations. But the following day, on April 30 2018, I was arrested by new detectives from police headquarters,” he narrated.
Before he completed testifying, Judge Kamanga asked defence lawyers to ask the accused who started testifying from 2.35pm to 4.34pm that they would continue hearing the case on Wednesday. She then adjourned the case.
Both State and Legal Aid Bureau lawyers refused to grant journalists interviews.
Pirirani Masanjala and Steve Kayuni represented the State while Chileka is being represented by the Legal Aid Bureau.
In January last year, the court found Catholic priest Father Thomas Muhosha and 12 others with a case to answer.
The body of Masambuka, 24, who came from Nakawa Village, Traditional Authority Nkoola in Machinga, was found buried on April 1 2018 after he was reported missing in March the same year. Besides Chileka and Muhosha, other suspects include Masambuka’s brother Cassim White who faces three charges of murder, trafficking in persons and causing harm to a person with disability.