The High Court of Malawi says it will within 94 days’ deliver its judgement in a criminal case against eight people, including former first lady Gertrude Mutharika’s son Tadikira Mafubza.
In the case being heard in Mzuzu and classified as The State versus Samuel Navaya and seven others, the suspects are answering charges of aggravated manslaughter and trafficking in persons in connection with the deaths of 30 unidentified people believed to be Ethiopian immigrants.
The 30 bodies were discovered in Mtangatanga Forest in Mzimba on October 18 2022.
In her ruling, Judge Gladys Gondwe asked the defence to make submissions before the court in 21 days and that the State should respond 14 days later.
Tadikira (C) leaves court after the hearing yesterday
“The court will make its determination in 60 days from the date of submissions by the State,” she said.
Taking questions from lead defence lawyer Gilbert Khonyongwa, the State’s last witness, a police lead investigator William Phiri, said Tadikira was not involved in the hiring of his Scania truck that was used to ferry 30 foreigners into the forest.
The witness also told the court that apart from ownership of the truck, Tadikira had no other dealings with the other accused persons, including the driver of the vehicle, who is also the first accused, Navaya.
Earlier yesterday, hearing of the case resumed with the court temporarily moving to Mzuzu Police Station where Phiri demonstrated the mechanical position of a metal bar which the State alleges fell off the Scania truck used to ferry the foreigners into the forest where a mass grave was discovered.
After a two-day session of Phiri’s examination and cross-examination, chief State advocate Dzikondianthu Malunda prayed that the defence should in 21 days from adjournment make submissions on whether there is a case to answer and that the State would respond 14 days later. The judge granted the State its wish.
Tadikira was arrested on November 23 2022 in connection with the mass grave and is currently on bail.