The Lilongwe Magistrate Court Has handed down three counts to each of the two men suspected to have killed and beheaded a couple and five-year old girl in Lilongwe, recently.
The state brought the two, 45 year old Botisi Mphiningu and 21 year old Sakile Zunda before the Court for the reading of their charges and way forward on the case.
Senior Resident Magistrate Chisomo Msokera read out charges of the two suspects saying they each faced three counts of murder all of which he said were contrary to Section 209 of the Penal Code.
The three counts each of the two suspects face are that, with malicious intentions between 14 and 15 April 2017 Mphiningu and Zunda respectively caused 1) the death of 5-year-old Olivia Chawinga, 2) the death of Queen Zgambo, and 3) the death of Dalias Chawinga at Chadza 1 in Lilongwe.
Msokera told the suspects that the court had no mandate to grant them bail and that the court’s powers were limited as such their case would be committed to the High Court.
“This is not the beginning of your case but rather to bring to your attention the charges you face,” explained Msokera, adding that the two were free to seek legal aid.
The court has since put a remand order to the two of up to June 21, 2017 when the case will have been committed to the High Court for prosecution.
Meanwhile, a third suspect, Malekano Mphiningu was arrested on Friday at Mitundu in connection to the death of the Chawinga family.
Malekano, 30, is a brother to Botisi and the two were both implicated by Zunda as having allegedly taken part in the murder of the three, according to Lilongwe Police Spokesperson, Kingsley Dandaula.
The Chawinga family left their home in Rumphi with Zunda and they went to Lilongwe where the Chawingas bought a car at Biwi vehicle market.
According to Dandaula, Zunda took the three to Mitundu where Zunda’s mother stays but on the way they met Mphiningu who confronted Zunda over a K200,000 debt.
“Zunda said Mphiningu held the three hostage and vowed never to release them until Zunda settled the K200,000 debt,” said Dandaula, adding that a few days later the three bodies were found in Bunda Forest.
But Mphiningu in his police statement said he knew nothing about the Chawinga family massacre and that he had never met Zunda before.
The third suspect, Malekano, is yet to appear before court to hear the charges the state will level against him.
The Mphiningus are renowned businessmen in Mitundu and they hail from Chawala Village, Traditional Authority (TA) Chitseka in Lilongwe while Zunda hails from Mugula Village, TA Muzolokera, Rumphi.
Dalias Chawinga, 38, hailed from Chilundika Village TA Katumbi, Rumphi, while his wife, Queen Zgambo, 42 hailed from Mlongoti Village, TA Chikulamayembe, Rumphi.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :