No bail for Chasowa murder suspects, defence lawyer smells rat

Two young men arrested in connection with last year’s murder of Polytechnic student Robert Chasowa are yet to be formally charged by the court despite spending close to a fortnight at the Chichiri prison.

The two suspects, identified as Geoff ‘Dolph’ Botomani and Petro Tembo, were picked on July 15 but no reasons have been given by the police on why the two are being kept in custody.

The suspects were supposed to be brought into court on Monday for to be formally charged but the prosecution team led by Davie Mwete has not yet brought the two before the court.

This has raised more questions than answers on the part of defence lawyers that have been left with no option but to suspect that the state has hidden agenda.

Lawyer Chancy Gondwe: My clients are being held in an illegal detention

Illegal detention

Meanwhile,  the visibly frustrated attorney Chancy Gondwe told Nyasa Times after the case failed to commence that he strongly suspects the state has no evidence to link up the two to the murder of the university student hence the dilly dallying.

He therefore described the continued detention as” illegal “and not consistent with rules of natural justice.

“The whole of last week I have been coming here but it has been one excuse after the other. What is even more surprising is that the prosecution has not read to me the charges, it is very strange that my clients are in jail without being charged,” he said, adding “such practice by the police is illegal; I hope they know the legal consequences to that.”

Gondwe went further to say: “What is even more interesting is the fact that when we came in court today I was informed by the prosecution that my clients have been taken to undisclosed place for investigation.

“You mean all this time the suspects are being kept in detention without thorough investigations? I think that is now persecution,” fumed Gondwe.

Police tight lipped

While the police has not made any details to the public following the arrest of Botomani and Tembo, Nyasa Times sources in the police service said the two men, both in their 30s and Ndirande residents, are prime suspects into the murder of Chasowa.

However, both southern region spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa and his boss Davie Chingwalu have been tight lipped on the matter, claiming no action can be made on this case as an inquiry on the same is ongoing.

Coincidentally, Gondwa was spotted last Thursday in the court when magistrate Innocent Nebi told the court that he was going into a meeting hence could not preside over the case.

On Friday the case was adjourned on three occasions until later it was communicated that it would resume this week due to the presiding senior magistrate’s other commitments.

Implicate Masangwi

 Nyasa Times were the first to report about the arrest of the two and also understands that they have implicated former ruling DPP top official Noel Masangwi in the murder of Chasowa

Their arrest come at a time a commission of inquiry appointed by President Joyce Banda to investigate circumstances surrounding Chasowa’s death is in progress.

And an inquest into the death of Chasowa is underway at the Blantyre Magistrate’s Court.

An autopsy by Dr Charles Dzamalala of the College of Medicine in Blantyre showed that Chasowa died from assault to his head inflicted by a blunt instrument or instruments rather than a fall as was earlier claimed by police that he had committed suicide by jumping from a tall building at the campus.

He was found dead at the college on September 30 2011.

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