Lule’s widow to get K331m from govt over husband’s death in police custody

Charity Lule, whose husband Buleya Lule died in police custody on February 21, 2019 after being electrocuted, is to receive K331 million in compensation following Attorney General Chikosa Silungwe’s consent order signed on June 4, 2021, Nyasa Times has learnt,

Lule, 44, was a critical suspect in the abduction and murder of Goodson Makanjira, a 14-year-old boy with albinism from Mphanyama Village in Traditional Authority Chilikumwendo, in Dedza district.

12 cops, including Evallista Chisale, Commissioner of Police for the central region and wife to former President Peter Mutharika’s head of security, Norman, were arrested  in connection to Lule’s mysterious death.

Buleya Lule died in police cell

There has, however, been sluggish progress on the case. On April 13 2021, the suspects failed to take plea as  one of the 12 suspects, Wallen Chavinda, failed to appear in court.

The case, being handled by High Court Judge Dorothy DeGabrielle, has stalled since then.

But the state, through the office of the Attorney General, has accepted liability and agreed to pay Lule’s widow K331 million in damages as demanded through her lawyer, George Kadzipatike.

“Upon agreement of the parties herein it is ordered that judgement on liability be and is hereby entered against the defendant Attorney General [Malawi Police Service] on all the reliefs sought by the claimant herein…the quantum of damages,” the order reads.

Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs spokesperson, Pilirani Masanjala, refused to give comment on the matter when asked on how the state intended to settle the bills.

Kadzipatike, on the other hand, said “it is a relief to my client who lost her husband at the hands of state actors, in this case Malawi Police officers.”

Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) executive secretary, Habiba Osman, hailed the development, describing it as “best news.”

A forensic autopsy report, by College of Medicine-based pathologist, Charles Dzamalala, showed Lule  had been electrocuted. The report also revealed that Buleya was assaulted with different types of instruments, including but not limited to a cylindrical object that inflicted injury to the head.

The report further said a hot iron or similar object was placed on a cloth over the skin rather than directly onto the skin around the left buttock of Buleya.

According to the report, the nature and types of the injuries on Buleya showed that he was tortured, which contradicted a primary autopsy report by government-hired pathologist, Maurice Mulenga, which suggested that Buleya died of natural causes.

There were also injuries of different types and nature, ranging from bruises, scratches, burn wounds to electric wounds, the report revealed.

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