The High Court in Blantyre has granted leave for judicial review in the death of a flamboyant tycoon and former politician James Leonard Ojuku Makhumula’s death inquest case, and has since issued an Interlocutory Mandatory Injunction against the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Makhumula was thought to have committed suicide, but after new claims by his children, that he was shot at his posh residence outside the city of Blantyre on September 03 2005 prompted High Court to to order an inquest into the death of the self-styled “Sir James”.
The court on Friday granted the leave for judicial review in respect of the irrational and illegal actions of
the appointed Coroner, Principal Resident Magistrate Innocent Nebi and the DPP following an application by late Makhumula’s first son, Ganizani through his lawyer, Ambokire Salimu.
Ganizani and other members of late Makhumula’s family applied for Judicial Review and the ex-parte order of mandatory injunction on the ground that the Coroner has abdicated his statutory powers to the DPP to take control of and direct the inquest proceedings.
They also argued that the DPP has been bias in omitting, for up to six years, to allocate resources towards the conclusion of the inquest proceedings.
Following the issuance of the 14-days interim injunction, Justice Sylvester Kalembera has ordered the DPP to provide the resources to have the forensic analysis of the blood sample that was found in the living room of late Makhumula’s residence done.
Justice Kalembera further ordered the DPP to bring before the Coroner, remaining witnesses in the inquest particularly the police officer who is to tender the alleged suicide weapon, semi-automatic pistol, pending “the determination of the substantive Judicial Review proceedings.”
The court has also directed the Coroner i to take control of the inquest proceedings by giving the relevant orders and directives to the DPP to provide resources for the prompt resolution of the inquest proceedings.
Inquest into the death of Makhumula was commissioned in 2008 after Ganizani and his siblings disputed the death of their father- alleged to have committed suicide in 2005.
Ganizani Makhumula and his siblings requested the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to commerce inquest proceedings to determine the cause of their father’s death due to suspicions as to how their step-mother, Hellen narrated the occurrence of his suicide.
Makhumula allegedly committed suicide at his home in Mapanga, Blantyre on Saturday 3rd September, 2005 by shooting himself three times in the head with his own pistol.
He gave no motive for the suicide but his wife Hellen told journalists then that Makhumula appeared depressed in the morning of the day of the incident, and that the suicide occurred while she was away visiting
a sick relative at a certain hospital.
Since the commencement of the inquest, almost all witnesses have testified apart from the ballistic expert who is supposed to tender the alleged suicide weapon, semi-automatic pistol.
Some of the members of late Makhumula’s wider family have been disputing the alleged claims that their father committed suicide especially following the discovery of alleged blood stains on the carpet in the living room of the deceased’s residence.
The alleged blood stains have been regarded as part of evidence disputing the alleged suicide claimed to have been committed in the bathroom, and not in the living room where the stains were uncovered.
Collected blood samples are waiting for forensic tests to be done in South Africa as the office of the DPP is failing to pay the hired pathologists, Dr. Zamalala and Professor Liomba to compile necessary DNA samples.
And several arguments have been raised during the inquest proceedings disputing the suicide claims, which include the type of the weapon used and the number of bullets fired.
Late Makhumula is alleged to have shot himself three times on the forehead using a Czechoslovakian made 9mm semi-automatic pistol- model 75B and serial number V8617.
However, according to report presented during the inquest proceedings by Officer In-Charge of Malawi police Criminal Investigation Department (Firearm and Ballistic Branch), it was extremely impossible for late Makhumula to kill himself using the alleged semi-automatic pistol.
The Officer In-Charge argued that “It is impossible to shoot yourself on the forehead more than once as the firearm (semi-automatic pistol) requires pulling of the trigger on every discharge of ammunition.”
Another argument raised is that late Makhumula was right-handed, however he was found dead in his bathroom with the semi-automatic pistol in his left hand.
Ganizani and his siblings, based on this fact, argue that the whole scenario of their late father’s alleged
suicide was staged.
Late Makhumula, popularly known as “Sir James”, was one of the founding members of the former ruling United Democratic Front (UDF). He once quit UDF and became chairperson for now defunct National
Democratic Alliance (NDA) during the 2004 elections.
A former local government minister under the administration of president Bakili Muluzi, Makhumula made his fortune from a bus transport company.
His buses transported thousands of Mozambican refugees back home from Malawi, where they sheltered for years from the civil war that ended in 1992 in their neighbouring southeast African country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :