The civil society organisations (CSOs) are calling for an investigations into the death of judge of the High Court of Malawi, George Bakuwa in Zambia while on a tour of duty for State-produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) the Zambian maize procurement saga.
Bakuwa, who was a private practice lawyer and served as company secretary at Admarc., died barely two weeks after taking his oath of office as judge.
He died after a short illness in Lusaka, Zambia.
Now following allegations of corrupt elements in the ‘maizegate’ leaders of the country’s key CSOs, including Public Affairs Committee (PAC), Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen), Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) and Civil Society Education Coalition (Csec), are calling for Bakuwa’s death be investigated
Others are Centre for the Development of People (Cedep), Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Youth and Society (YAS) and Citizen Alliance.
There has been speculation that Bakuwa may have been poisoned after he expressed reservation on the ‘cashgate’ style of corruption in the procurement saga.
He dies after his sugar level rose too high, similar to the death of Malawi Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Maxon Mbendera.
They say government should have released details on the circumstances that led to Bakuwa’s death and the treatment provided to him.
CSOs argue that government did not bother to disclose any details to dispel the mystery over Bakuwa’s death.
The civil society led by HRCC chairperson Robert Mkwezalamba has urged President Peter Mutharika to include two leaders from their grouping to sit on the inquiry.
They also want the Office of the Ombudsman to be included.
Government spokesperson Nicholas Dausi has pooh-poohed the calls for investigations into Bakuwa’s death.
“We should not overstretch our focus,” he said.
He said the matter to be addressed now is the investigations into how Admarc handled the procurement of the purported 100 000 metric tonnes of maize from Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF).
Admarc has been accused of engaging a privately-owned Zambian company Kaloswe Commuter and Courier Limited which purportedly played the role of middleman in the deal.
The Zambian company has since reportedly dragged Admarc to court for breach of contract, having already done so with the Zambia Cooperative Federation over similar charges.
Admarc reportedly paid about K26 billion which government borrowed from the PTA Bank for the purchase of the maize which is about K9.5 billion more than the estimated K15 billion it could have paid had it bought the maize directly from the Zambian Government.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :