Court orders Malawi Police to investigate cell brutality in Mzuzu

Mzuzu First Grade Magistrate, Alexander Gomba has ordered Mzuzu Police Officer-in-Charge to investigate into allegations that some robbery suspects in police cell were brutally assaulted by police officers.

Police at Mzuzu High Court House

He issued the order when five suspects unanimously complained to the court that since they were arrested, they have been subjected to torture while in custody.

The five suspects, Christophe rAdam, Charles Mwale, Gerald Banda, McDonald Kalonga and Christopher Chanza are suspected to have broken into Centre for Youth and Development office premises in Mzuzu and stole 48 laptops worth over K6 million on December 10, 2017.

“I would like to inform this court that while we’re in custody on January 5, we’re taken by police officers from Mzuzu Prison to Mzuzu police where some Criminal Investigations Department (CID) officers started beating us while handcuffed,” Adam told the court.

Third accused in the case, Kalonga concurred with Adam by saying he was brutally assaulted to the extent that the handcuff broke and pierced into his flesh, creating a big wound.

“After the handcuff broke, the police had to use some form of a grinder to break the handcuff and I felt very painfull.As you can see, am currently bandaged on my wound,” he complained. .

Magistrate Gomba ordered the police to quickly inform their Officer- in-Charge to launch an investigation into the allegation and furnish the court with a report.

“First and foremost, I would like to rule that any form of brutality to suspects in custody is totally unlawful, I therefore order the state to inform the Police officer In-charge to launch a very serious investigation into this matter,” he said.

Meanwhile, as hearing of the case resumed, primary witness to the case, Rachel Zulu told the court that during the wee hours of   December1 0 last year, she received two visitors, McDonald Kalonga and Christopher Chanza ,who brought laptops.

“Chanza told me that the laptops were for McDonald and his friend who had just returned from South Africa. Since Chanza and my husband are friends, I allowed that the laptops be kept at my house.

“After some days, police officers came to my house with my husband and said there were stolen laptops in my house. Iaccepted that the laptops were available and disclosed who brought them,” she said.

Zulu said the police planned to hide in the house so that when Kalonga and Chanzacame, they should be ambushed and arrested.

“The plan really worked since Kalonga and his friend came at night at my home and asked to be given the laptops. After they entered the house, the police ambushed them and arrested them, “she concluded.

Project coordinator for Centre for Youth and Development Themba Magawa complained to the court that the loss of the computers has greatly affected their operations as vital information is missing.

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