By Robert Tapfumaneyi
THE Malawi High Court sitting in the neighbouring country’s old capital city, Zomba, has sentenced to life imprisonment, businessman Misozi Chanthunya for murdering his Zimbabwean girlfriend Linda Gasa.
Gasa was killed on August 4, 2010 at a private cottage in Mangochi after which Chanthunya escaped to South Africa days later.
Judge Ruth Chinangwa also sentenced the astute businessman to two years imprisonment with hard labour for perjury and hindering the burial of a dead body.
The judge said the two sentences would run concurrently from the date of his conviction.
The brief facts are that Gasa’s medical reports submitted indicated she was poisoned, smothered and stabbed four times before being buried in the bathroom of her love’s cottage in the lakeshore district of Mangochi where they had gone to discuss her three-month pregnancy.
Gasa was a second-year student at the Malawi College of Accountancy.
Reports from Malawi said Chanthunya, who is married, was in a relationship with Gasa and they were expecting a child.
However, the businessman did not want to take responsibility for the pregnancy and resorted to killing her.
In mitigation, the convict, through his counsel Michael Goba Chipeta, pleaded for a 10-year sentence arguing the accused was a first offender and that he already spent seven years in pretrial custody in South Africa.
He further mitigated that the conviction was based on circumstantial evidence and did not show a clear motive and that the accused is not a threat and there is no likelihood of him committing an offence.
Chipeta described the sentence as unfair adding that they were going to appeal the sentence at that country’s highest Supreme Court of Appeal.
The Malawi businessman was arrested in 2012 after the country’s police wrote to the South African government requesting for his arrest.
Chanthunya first attempted to bury Gasa’s body in a nearby bush but the undertaker digging the grave struck a huge rock and failed to proceed.
Attempts to throw the body into Lake Malawi failed as there were heavy waves and the owner of the hired boat failed to execute the plan and that is when he resorted to digging a grave at his private cottage.
Gasa’s remains were flown into Zimbabwe and buried a week after he murder.