Pretoria - Malawian businessman Misozi Chanthunya, who had been on the run for nearly eight years from law enforcement officials in his country for allegedly killing his pregnant girlfriend and subsequently fled to South Africa, eventually agreed to be extradited to face the music.
Chanthunya’s home for the past few years had been the Kgosi Mampuru II Prison in Pretoria, from where he had launched numerous legal battled not to be extradited to Malawi.
He fear that he will face the death penalty if he is returned to Malawi and subsequently convicted of murdering his girlfriend Linda Gasa.
She was stabbed several times and her mutilated body was found buried under a freshly cemented floor in Chanthunya’s cottage in Monkey Bay, south of Malawi.
He subsequently fled to South Africa where he was nabbed by Interpol in Rustenburg in 2012. He had launched various applications not to return to Malawi and mostly relied on our Constitution, which did not allow for the death penalty. It also did not permit the extradition of murder suspects to countries which still practised the death sentence, without its governments giving the assurance that the death penalty will not be carried out.
The Malawi government earlier gave the assurance that if returned, Chantunya would not face the axe.
The Rustenburg Magistrate’s Court, shortly after his arrest, ordered his extradition after the Malawian government applied for him to return and face the music.
Chantunya subsequently turned to the North West High Court, Mafikeng, to appeal against this order as he felt that the assurance given by the Malawian government, was not sufficient to spare his life.
His appeal was turned down and the magistrate ordered that Justice Minister Michael Masutha had to only consider the issue whether the assurance given by the Malawian government that he will not be executed, still stood.
The minister decided that he had to be extradited, but Chantunya then turned to the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, to set aside Masutha’s decision.
The matter was this week, however, by agreement between him and the minister withdrawn and Chantunya agreed to be extradited to Malawi. This agreement was made an order of court.
According to statements issued before court, the prosecution in Malawi claimed that Chantunya and the deceased were loves and that she was pregnant with his child. He allegedly wanted her to terminate the pregnancy .
It is claimed that on August 4, 2010 he took her to his cottage in Monkey Bay. She was last seen in the company of Chantunya. She was reported as missing by her family until her body was retrieved a few days later, buried under the bathroom floor of his cottage.
But Chantunya said he had dropped her off at the BP Station in Blantyre on August 4, 2010, at midnight.
The prosecution said he was the last know person to be in her company and that her body displayed several stab wounds. It was said that she was clearly brutally murdered.
It was said by the Mafikeng high court in its earlier judgment that if the prosecution could prove that the murder was premeditated and that Chantunya wanted to cover it up, the death penalty will be inevitable.
The only thing that could save him, if he is convicted, is the assurance given by the Malawian government to the South African government that he will not face execution.