Court orders exhuming of former top CID police officer body for postmortem

Former Chief Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa has ordered that the body of the country’s top criminal investigation department (CID) police officer Bob Mtekama be exhumed to establish the cause of his death.

Chirwa, who is now High Court Judge sat as a coroner when he last week ordered the body of Mtekama to be exhumed within 30 days to allow experts to conduct a post-mortem.

Top cop – Late Bob Mtekama

The High Court of Malawi in August last year ordered an inquest into the death of the renowned detective after his family suspected foul play.

Chirwa, who is now High Court Judge, was appointed coroner.

Ministry of Justice spokesperson Pirirani Masanjala confirmed the order in an interview on Tuesday and said plans are underway to travel to Nkhotakota where Mtekama was buried.

According to Masanjala, the office of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the police, Nkhotakota District Heath Office, family members and the court will be involved in the process.

He said: “We will need to go to Nkhotakota for this activity but we cannot say when exactly but we will have to do it within the 30 days as ordered by the court. “

Mtekama died on August 4 2020 and was buried three days later in his home village Nkhono. A statement from police indicated he died at Blantyre Adventist Hospital after testing positive for Covid-19 and with an underlying condition of diabetes, but his family suspected foul play.

His family suspected a cover-up by police after the body was quickly moved from Blantyre to his home village for burial. The family claimed there were questionable events before and after his death, prompting DPP Steve Kayuni to ask the court to open the inquest.

The former top detective died while undertaking several high-profile investigations, including the multi-billion kwacha cement import deal and the 2014 murder of former Anti-Corruption Bureau director of corporate affairs Issa Njauju.

Mtekama’s body was taken to Nkhotakota without healthcare workers as is the case with Covid-related deaths and was buried without following Covid-19 protocols.

Instead, local undertakers dressed in improvised personal protective equipment took charge of the burial which was not accorded police honours.

During the inquest, the State paraded 14 witnesses.

In September 2020, a month after his death, police instituted a probe to establish the cause.

Inspector General of Police George Kainja, who had re-appointed Mtekama to head the CID, said the probe was instituted following speculation of foul play in the death.

In May this year, the Malawi Human Rights Commission also indicated that it was launching an investigation into Mtekama’s death.

Mtekama joined the Malawi Police Service in 1992 and before his appointment as head of the CID, he served at Limbe Police Station as officer-in-charge.

He studied criminal law at the University of Zanzibar and was the only Malawian police officer trained in forensic science by the University of Malawi’s College of Medicine. He was also trained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the US.

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