Chanthunya extradition judgment next week

A South African court will next week rule on whether Malawian businessman and fugitive murder suspect, Misozi Chanthunya will be extradited to Malawi for a murder trial.

Chanthunya is the main suspect in the Linda Gasa murder, a Zimbabwean 25 year-old student who was at the time studying in Malawi at the College of Accountancy in Malawi’s commercial city, Blantyre.

He is expected to appear in court in South Africa on Thursday morning, May 24, 2012 for a judge to determine his extradition case.

Interpol arrested Chanthunya on his way to dropping children at school after Malawians tipped the police that he was a fugitive for murder in Malawi.

Chanthunya: To face extradition (Insert Linda Gasa)

At the time of his arrest, Chanthunya was cohabiting with another Malawian woman, Ria Evance, 22 in South Africa.

Blantyre- based Evans was returned back to Malawi and was arrested upon arrival at Chileka Aiport for perverting the cause of justice but was later bailed after striking a deal to help with police investigations and become a state witness.

Malawi’s ministry of Justice Spokesperson Apoche Itimu confirmed to Nyasa Times in an interview that Chanthunya’s extradition case will be heard next week adding that that the Malawi government will send a delegation from the ministry to be present at the trial.

“There will be some officials from our ministry to witness the court proceedings in South Africa in Chanthunya’s case,” said Itimu.

Itimu however said that the decision to bring Chanthunya back to Malawi for a trial rests in the South African courts.

“We hope that the South African court will rule for his extradition for him to answer the charges in connection to Linda Gasa’s death,” she said.

Gruesome

Chanthunya,  who is married to a South African woman, Prudence Leboa is accused of gruesomely killing his extra-marital pregnant Zimbabwean girlfriend, Linda Gasa.

Like in a CSI episode Gasa was found dead and entombed in a make-shift heavily cemented vault at Chanthunya’s private cottage in the Lakeshore district of Mangochi in September 2010.

It is reported that Chanthunya took Gasa to Mangochi to discuss a pregnancy which his girlfriend, Gasa, was carrying for him.

It is alleged that Chanthunya wanted Gasa to terminate her pregnancy because he was scared of the repercussions if the news of his extra marital escapades and the pregnancy blew off the lid to the public and consequently to his wife, but the girlfriend is reported to have vehemently refused to abort.

Malawi government in January this year through Solicitor General Anthony Kamanga formally asked the South African government to hand over Chanthunya to Malawian authorities.

Escape

Murder convictions carry a death sentence in Malawi although Chanthunya – again if convicted – may escape a death execution as Malawi hasn’t executed anyone on the death roll since the introduction of multi-party democracy 18 years ago.

Death sentences end up being life sentences after former president Bakili Muluzi, in power from 1994 to 2004, vowed to never sign off a death sentence following worldwide condemnation of the death sentence led by human rights group Amnesty International.

Muluzi’s successor,  late president Bingu wa Mutharika neither sent anybody to the gallows for a death penalty for murder charges.

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