Judge Ntaba opts out of Masambuka case as suspect implicates her uncle: Presidential aide named in albino killing case

Zomba-based High Court Judge Justice Zione Ntaba has recused herself in a murder case of a 22-year-old young man with albinism MacDonald Masambuka after Alfred Yohane, one of the suspects, implicated some high profile Malawi government politicians including her uncle Dr Hertherwick Ntaba, an aide to President Peter Mutharika.

Judge Zione Ntaba: Out of Masambuka case after her uncle Hetherwick Ntaba is implicated
Ntaba: Presidential aide implicated in Masambuka case

Yohane, represented by lawyer Trouble Kalua from Legal Aid Bureau, on Thursday mentioned in court some top politicians serving in the current administration as being behind the attacks, abductions and killings of people with albinism in the country.

But Judge Ntaba stopped her from mentioning the names and gave a gagging order to the media not to report about the names implicated.

However, Yohane has maintained that he will would not change his statements even if he is ‘beheaded’, saying he stands for the truth.

On her recusal, Judge Ntaba said she could not continue be trial judge because Dr Hetherwick Ntaba being implicated is “my paternal uncle. He is my deceased ‘s father  brother and judicial ethics require that where there is  potential conflict n due to familial ties, the court take stapes  to address those issues including recusing oneself from handling the matter,” said Justice Ntaba.

She also pointed out that the court did not put a ‘gag order’ to the media  in terms of reporting any other names, saying the court “greatly values” the role of the media but that there are some “limitations” when reporting on certain issues which are based on law.

“Such limitations are necessary n an open and democratic society to safeguard the rights of others and in the public interest,” she pointed out.

Testifying  in court, Yohane said that Catholic priest Father Thomas Muhosha – who is also another suspect –  last year called to meet him at Michongwe Primary School in Ntaja, Machinga, where the priest allegedly said he was looking for tissues of a person with albinism to buy at K100 million.

Yohane said he agreed to hunt for the tissues. He told the court that when he asked the priest about the potential market, Muhosha mentioned Ntaba, the presidential aide and some top government officials in President Peter Mutharika’s administration.

He confessed to murdering Masambuka while claiming that he did so on instructions from Muhosha, who allegedly told him that he was doing so on behalf of top government officials including Ntaba.

Father Muhosha denies the murder charge but in January this year, the court found Muhosha and 12 others with a case to answer.

Besides Muhosha and Yohane, the suspects include Masambuka’s brother Cassim White Masambuka who faces three charges of murder, trafficking in persons and causing another person to harm a person with disability.

The trial has not been short of drama since it started with Yohane who faces a possible death sentence recording a Whatsapp voice note in which he recorded in prison with Chikondi Chileka claimed that top government officials were involved in the killing of albinos.

In May, the court declined an application from public broadcaster MBC to be covering the trial live on television and radio.

In recusing herself, judge Ntaba said she strongly believes in integrity of the Malawi justice system as well as the independence and impartiality of judicial officers including her.

“Further, the judicial ethics state that I should not preside over a case where the conduct of a close relative such as my uncle is brought in as a very significant issue. Therefore, I hereby recuse myself from continuing to try this matter,” stated judge Ntaba.

She ordered that the case file be transferred to the High Court in Blantyre to be assigned to another judge.

In Zomba High Court registry there are two judges – Ntaba and Redson Kapindu. But Ntaba said she did not consider it appropriate to transfer the matter to Justice Kapindu as he is currently already attending to various trials for person with albinism and other highly involving criminal cases.

The body of Masambuka, 22, who hailed from Nakawa Village, Traditional Authority Nkoola in Machinga, was found buried on April 1 2018 after he was reported missing in March the same year.

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Anzelu ndi Anzelu
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Anzelu ndi Anzelu

Everyone who is implicated, whether by inference or by name must be thoroughly investigated and brought to book. These cases of albino killings should not be tried in Malawi but by the ICC because we cannot have the accused probing the very allegations leveled against them. Our courts are full of biased judges, most of whom owe their positions to the government. I for one, do not in any form or fashion support all these sham judicial proceedings. Awanso afa posachedwa ngati a Buleya Lule aja anawochedwa matako ndi ayoni yamakala. All our politicians, whether in govt or opposition stand… Read more »

Guideon
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Guideon

Akukulu a Malawi tiri ndi bvuto lalikulu kwambiri munthuyu watchula ndipo akunena molimba mtima popeza watchula anthu amaudindo mukiti zalowa ndale anakatchula munthu opanda udindo munakati chiani? Apa tikunena nkhani youkhuza umoyo wa anthu njoka sitiweta ngati akulu akulu mukuwabakira ndiosakwa then abwere poyera afotokoze ku mbali yawo, zitha kukhala zoona zomwe m’bale wathu Yohane akunena musaiwale kt Buleya anaphedwa powopa kt awululu zambiri koma anaiwala kt Mulungu simunthu agwirisira ntchito munthu wina kt choona chioneke makosanawa musawakhulupilire

Wa molere
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Wa molere

Mr Yohane at his best…….am scared once DPP win…..u are dead

Geoffrey
Guest

Please read ‘The Epic Hunt for Albino Killers in Malawi’ by………Father

KHUMBO
Guest
KHUMBO

Chilungamo chiyende

KHUMBO
Guest
KHUMBO

we need true

Zambulo
Guest
Zambulo

Kodi muja mukumati ndi za mabiggie izi mumatanthauza mwazi wa albino

Prophet Mboro
Guest

Sorry .Bosses this is the signs of childish and dirty politics.Be strong .Jesus also met such times.This is what happens when the community raises against you in the village.You need to make strong laws about these allegations. People in villages are attacked ,lose lives.Kuphuzisa ana ufiti .So many elders lose lives and property. You failed to !make strong laws to protect and pun

Panyelo
Guest

No no .People should not believe this we had such incidents in most of districts in the past.Suspects have lost lives, property and even homes.Two years ago we had lost a lot friends and relatives I in the name of blood suckers🏖🏖 protect the named people. We had such incidents in most districts.Sanje chabe

Innoxy
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Innoxy

Nanu a nyasatimes musatikhumudwise pa nkhani ya maina please!!!.Tchulani the rest, inu zoona achite kuzipasa ulemu zifwambazi inu mukungoyang’ana???.

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