Man gets K2.8 million compensation for false imprisonment

(𝑓𝑟𝑜𝑚 𝑙𝑒𝑓𝑡) 𝐴𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑛𝑡 𝐿𝑒𝑔𝑎𝑙 𝐴𝑖𝑑 𝑂𝑓𝑓𝑖𝑐𝑒𝑟 𝑆𝑖𝑛𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑖 𝑆𝑖𝑠𝑦𝑎, 𝐶ℎ𝑖𝑒𝑓 𝐿𝑒𝑔𝑎𝑙 𝐴𝑖𝑑 𝐴𝑑𝑣𝑜𝑐𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝑍𝑎ℎ𝑒𝑒𝑑 𝑁𝑑𝑒𝑘𝑒𝑡𝑎 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝐺𝑎𝑛𝑖𝑧𝑎𝑛𝑖 𝑀𝑡𝑎𝑖𝑘𝑎

The High Court in Zomba has awarded MK2,800,000 to Ganizani Mtaika as compensation for being falsely imprisoned and staying in jail for 14 days .

Mtaika’s battle for the settlement has not been easy as he fought for justice for nearly 20 years since the incident.

In 2003 he was working as a Security Guard for the then Securicor Malawi and was stationed at Fargo office in Limbe.

On the night of 9 October 2004, Mtaika reported for work. He was later contacted by the main office asking if a robbery had taken place at the premises, to which he said no. He was repeatedly asked the same question several times that night and his response remained the same. No robbery had taken place.

At around 9 pm, police officers visited the premises to carry out an inspection. The search showed that nothing was stolen at the place since everything was intact.

At wound 10 pm, officials from the company changed the guards on duty and advised Mtaika and his colleagues to go to the police. When at the police station, the company officials were told that a search took place and nothing was stolen. A Supervisor from the company, however, insisted that Mtaika and his team must be arrested because that was what the company had instructed to be done.

On the fourth day of arrest, the company gave Mtaika and the others suspension letters to sign, but they refused. The three guards eventually spent 14 days in custody at Limbe police station.

They were taken to a Magistrate Court where they were charged with breaking into a building and theft. Bail was granted and the matter was heard for four months. After it all, they were discharged since nothing was stolen and there was no break-in.

By all means, Mtaika did not see it fit and reasonable to be kept in custody for two weeks for a crime he did not commit. He therefore sought legal aid, which was granted. At that time, he had his case registered at the Bureau’s Blantyre office. Considering that he was a Zomba resident and was finding it hard to commute frequently, he had his file transferred to the Zomba Legal Aid Bureau office.

After several years of the file changing hands since the defendant was adamant about settling his claim, Chief Legal Aid Advocate Zaheed Ndeketa on behalf of the client has assisted in getting the settlement agreed at an amount of MK2.8 million, which Mtaika is satisfied with.

Speaking after being handed the money, Mtaika pointed out that even though the matter has taken longer than expected, he is glad that he has gotten his compensation.

“I am extremely happy that the matter has been settled. I have been assisted and I can attest that Legal Aid Bureau really helps,” said Mtaika with a big smile on his face.