Foul Play Suspected In Death Of President’s Business Associate Kalonga Satmbuli

A March 2 autopsy report
revealed that Kalonga
Stambuli, Chief Executive Officer of President Muluzi’s Trade and Investment Company, was poisoned and strangled on December 29, 2003.

In the weeks following Stambuli’s death, “The Dispatch” weekly newspaper printed a series of excerpts from Stambuli’s personal journal, entitled “Corrupt Practices by Muluzi.”

Since Stambuli’s death, the opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and civil society organizations have repeatedly called for the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) and GOM to launch an official investigation into the matter, and the police announced on March 12 that an inquiry had begun.

The allegations in Stambuli’s journal are the most personal and direct accusations of corruption ever made publicly against the President.

AUTOPSY REPORT RELEASED

On March 2 an autopsy report on the death of Kalonga Stambuli, Chief Executive Officer of President Muluzi’s Trade and Investment Company, was released.

The autopsy, which had been initiated by a friend of the family, revealed that on December 29, 2003 Kalonga Stambuli was poisoned with a organophosphate compound and, immediately after, strangled.

Declaring “asphyxia due to manual strangulation” the immediate cause of death, the report concluded that the death ”was unlikely to have been suicidal.”

In addition, the report indicated a handwritten note was found beside Stambuli’s body and read, “You are very sinful.”

The autopsy, which was not initiated by the police, came after the opposition political party National Democratic Alliance (NDA) made repeated public calls for the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) and GOM to make official inquiries into Stambuli’s death.

Since the report’s release, several local human rights NGOs have pressed for an official investigation, which the police announced on March 12 had begun.

STAMBULI’S BEYOND-THE- GRAVE ACCUSATIONS

In the weeks following
Stambuli’s death,
“The Dispatch” weekly newspaper serialised portions of what it claimed was the late Stambuli’s personal journal, entitled “Corrupt Practices by Muluzi.”

While providing no evidence to substantiate the allegations, the entries detailed Muluzi’s purported involvement in several illegal activities, including misappropriation of public funds and private business scandals.

The final article concluded by describing Stambuli’s March 1997 decision to resign as Personal Advisor to the President and Secretary for Economic Planning and Development, though never indicated the exact circumstances around Stambuli’s departure.

According to Stambuli, an unhappy Muluzi then had Stambuli arrested on trumped-up charges. The ensuing legal battle had not been resolved at the time of Stambuli’s death.

COMMENT

Rumours of corruption and illegal activities are not new to Muluzi or his administration. However, Stambuli’s accusations are the most personal and direct ever made publicly against Muluzi, and well-placed sources indicate some may be founded.

If official inquires are made into the Muluzi administration after the President steps down in May, the Stambuli case may feature prominently among them. @ Malawi Voice>

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