State to appeal Mzimba mass grave ruling

High Court in Mzuzu

The state has resolved to appeal against the acquittal of Tadikira Mafubza, the stepson of former Malawi president Peter Mutharika, and seven other people in the alleged killing and trafficking of thirty Ethiopian nationals whose bodies were discovered in a mass grave in Mzimba. 

The eight were charged with manslaughter and trafficking in persons, charges they fiercely rejected, forcing the State to parade several witnesses. 

On Wednesday afternoon, June 18, 2024, High Court Judge Justice Gladys Gondwe cleared the eight suspects saying the State failed to present enough evidence as their witnesses were not consistent. 

Consequently, Justice Gondwe has also mandated that the State return motor vehicles that were seized on suspicion of being used to transport the victims to their rightful owners. 

However, the Ministry of Justice through a Facebook post, has disclosed that the State will challenge the ruling at the Supreme Court of Appeal, saying the state is not satisfied with the court’s outcome. 

The Ministry wrote on Facebook that, “The State has resolved to appeal in the Supreme Court against today’s ruling of the High Court in Mzuzu to acquit Tadikira Mafubza, stepson to former President Peter Mutharika, and seven others, accused of manslaughter and aggravated human trafficking of 30 Ethiopian nationals. 

“Director of Criminal Litigation in the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Dzikondiwanthu Malunda, said the State is not satisfied with the ruling, disclosing that a decision, following consultations, has been made to appeal.” 

The bodies of the 30 Ethiopian nationals were discovered buried in a mass grave in Mtangatanga Forest in Mzimba District in October 2022. 

Police investigation on the matter led to the arrest of Mafubza, Samuel Navaya, David Luhanga, Thomas Kazembe, Duncan Kalulu, Boniface Ngulube, Aubrey Dukes and Arnold Mwakiyelu.


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