The High Court in Lilongwe has awarded K85 million to a family whose son Grant Chilimba died in police custody at Makawa Police Unit in Mangochi 10 years ago after he was beaten to death by police officers.
Father of the victim, Amos Chilimba, successfully sued Police and government, claiming compensation for loss of life, loss of dependency and special damages.
The court ordered that that the exemplary damages it awarded to the family should act as a deterent to State agents from carrying out similar acts in the future,
Police denied responsibility of the death but an autopsy confirmed Grant Chilimba died because of strangulation, internal bleeding and trauma suffered to the head.
Now there is a call for Police officers who were responsible for the death of the victim to face the law.
In 2015, the High Court in Mzuzu acquitted two police officers and convicted a third – all from Mzuzu Police Station – in connection to the mysterious circumstances that surrounded the death of a Natural Resources College (NRC) student, Edwin Msiska, who died in police custody in 2012.
Police officers George Kamphe and Lucius Mpakeni were acquitted while Victor Nsolomo was convicted.
Political and tribal cronyism are seen as contributing to dwindling professionalism, discipline and work ethic in the police force, ranked by Transparency International as Malawi’s most corrupt institution.
The executive director of Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, Timothy Mtambo, said his organisations had championed the formation of a police complaints commission, an independent complaints body similar to South Africa’s Independent Police Investigative Directorate.
“We had a consultative meeting with government and police authorities over the matter but nothing is happening,” said Mtambo.
But government says the groundwork for the formation of the commission had been concluded.