… Police Conduct Raises Eyebrows.


Police conduct has raised eyebrows for failure to prosecute ten suspects accused of defrauding the Lilongwe Handling Company (Lihaco) almost a year after effecting arrests. 

The ten, who include former Chief Executive Officer for LIHACO Alick Kasaila and businessman cum politician Frank Mazizi were arrested in September 2021 following audit findings which revealed financial mismanagement at the state enterprise. 

Police have yet to provide details on what is delaying prosecution over a week after we submitted a questionnaire. 

Officials at Lihaco are suspicious of police’s delays on the matter after “handing over crucial evidence”.

We are told that Part of the evidence is an audit report alleging that there was payment made to Mazizi’s firm for supplies that were never delivered. 

“This is sending a wrong message on the fight against corruption. Evidence was submitted, but after these people were arrested and granted bail, we have not heard from the police. This is a put off to those willing to fight fraud and corruption,” said one official from LIHACO.

Asked if it was not in their interest to push for justice in this case, Lihaco board chairperson Gift Nankhuni said the state was better placed to explain progress after Lihaco submitted a complaint.

“Lihaco lodged a complaint at the Police. Police investigated and made arrests. In terms of progress and charges proferred against those who were arrested, get in touch with either the police or the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions”.

When contacted for a comment, Mazizi referred us to his lawyer Gilbert Khonyongwa who indicated that the matter was adjourned to allow for investigations and that they are waiting to hear from police once investigations are concluded.

One of the officials from LIHACO indicated a complaint lodged with the Independent Police Complaint Commission on the conduct of police in this particular case. 

The Commission’s director Christopher said they have complaints against police on delayed cases but could not confirm if this was one of them.  

“So far, we have recorded four complaints on cases that have allegedly stalled or stagnated at the hands of the Police after they were registered in Court for prosecution. I cannot confirm whether this specific case is among those complaints. Our investigations on all the complaints are still underway to establish the exact cause of the prolonged delay”.

Tukula further pointed out that delayed cases at the hands of police make people suspect selective justice or corruption in law enforcement, leading to a loss of trust in the criminal justice system.

The Legal Affairs Committee Chairperson Albert Mbawala, aware of the suspicion surrounding this case, said the committee is equally worried that cases after arrests take forever to conclude, leaving suspects and the public in suspense. 

He said the committee has been engaging the judiciary to ensure a speedy conclusion of cases and will do the same with prosecuting agencies.