Mutharika's stepson Tadikira out on bail

Tadikira's lawyers

The Mzuzu High Court, has granted bail to Tadikira Mafubza, step-son of the former President of the Republic of Malawi, Arthur Peter Mutharika in a case in which he is suspected to have been involved in the death of 30 immigrants who were later buried in a mass grave in Mtangatanga Forest Reserve in Mzimba.

Mzuzu High Court Judge Gladys Gondwe granted bail to Mafubza who was not present during the bail application hearing but was represented by his defence counsel.

Earlier, lawyer representing Mafubza, Gilbert Khonyongwa asked the court to grant bail to his client since the interests of justice demand his release having spent a month and two weeks in custody. 

“My client is a Malawian who has a family as well as a permanent place where he lives and he is an employee of the Roads Authority which makes him likely to attend trial once the state is finished with its investigations,” Khonyongwa argued.

He added that his client remains innocent until proven guilty and any further detention would be tantamount to pretrial punishment.

Lawyers representing Mafubza, Wapona Kita anf Khonyongwa
Lawyers representing Mafudza, Wapona Kita and Khonyongwa. Photos by Gracian Jeke, Mana

Senior Assistant Chief State Advocate Dzikondianthu Malunda told the court that Mafudza is suspected to have had a hand in the trafficking of 30 illegal immigrants who later died and their burial was concealed by digging a mass grave in Mtangatanga Forest in Mzimba.

“According to police investigations, Mafubza is the owner of the van which was used to ferry the immigrants and he is suspected to have been aware of the transaction and burial of the suspected immigrants,” Malunda said.

“The driver of the van, Samuel Navaya is still in custody and investigations are ongoing whereby indications are showing that two suspects who are mainly connected to the driver are still on the run outside the country which is a tricky situation for the state since it is prudent for trial to start only if those two are arrested,” he added.

Malunda then told the court that should it grant the suspect bail, they should provide stringent conditions for the applicant to be able to attend trial.

“He should deposit to the court a cash bond not less than K2 million together with two worth K5 million sureties respectively and he should be reporting to Area 3 Police Station once every fortnight as well as surrender his travel documents. 
He should also not leave Lilongwe without authorisation from the Officer in charge of Lilongwe Police station and he should not contact any state witnesses,” he said. 

Delivering the ruling, Judge Gladys Gondwe said bail is an entitlement of every detained person even those accused of murder and the primary importance is whether or not the applicant will be available for trial.

“Since the state did not make any demonstration that there is need for the applicant’s continued detention, there is no basis for not granting bail,” said Gondwe.

She then granted bail to Mafubza on condition that he pays K2 million cash bail bond, produce two reliable sureties worth K5 million each, submit copies of his national identities and he should report to the National Police Headquarters immediately after his release.

Additionally, Mafubza will be required to submit his travel documents to court, report to the National Police headquarters every Tuesday in a fortnight and he should not interfere with investigations by contacting witnesses. 

Mafubza is answering murder and human trafficking charges alongside four other suspects-David Luhanga, Thomas Gidson, Samuel Navaya and Duncan Kalulu.