Written by Nelia Banda
Yamba Liwilo, a Malawian who fled to Europe seven years ago and never wants to return home, knew very well that the so called reformed Malawi Police Service (MPS) often exhibits some detestable traits of unprofessional conduct.
But that the service can actually go to the extent of harbouring criminals or criminal syndicates among some cohorts of its officers, is something he hardly believed until he met one Sergeant Daniel Papiyasi.
Some day in June 2012, Liwilo, a somehow well to do young businessman and looking forward to a bright future, was moving some of his merchandise from Mzuzu City to the Capital Lilongwe to explore more business prospects there.
He carried along a “package” which Sergeant Papiyasi gave him to deliver to someone who was waiting in the capital.
But the car which Liwilo and his three colleagues hired overturned as they drove through Chikangawa.
Liwilo just sustained deep cuts and bruises, two of his friends suffered serious head injuries while the other one died on the spot.
“It was a terrible accident. It is by the grace of God that I came out alive. I was in a hospital for a whole week for the wounds to begin to heal,” he recalled the accident in a written response.
He continued, “Sergeant Papiyasi never came to see me in hospital though I am very sure he had learnt of the accident. A week after I had been discharged, he called me to meet him. I did not know how he got my new phone number because I lost my previous phone during the accident.
“The sergeant was looking for his package. I told him I did not know where it was because rescuers might have stolen it together with some of my goods at the scene of the accident. He was very angry at me, saying the package was worth millions of kwacha and that he could not allow it to vanish just like that. He told me to find it by all means or pay the equivalent of its value.
“That day I went back home feeling troubled and in deep thought. How could I find the package or pay back for it? I think I made a mistake to accept carrying the package on behalf Sergeant Papiyasi. He was only thinking about himself and never showed any remorse towards my situation”.
Two days later, Liwilo received an anonymous call in which the caller warned him that if he failed to find the package or pay for it, he would face unspecified action.
Another two days later, his house was attacked and vandalized by uknown thugs who made away with a number of valuable items.
“I reported Sergeant Papiyasi and the incident at my house to the police. To my surprise, no policeman or officer was willing to handle my case. They kept pushing me from one office to another, from this police station to that police station. I suspected that the sergeant was larger than MPS itself,” said Liwilo.
And indeed our investigation confirmed his suspicion.
Sergeant Papiyasi, though holding one of the most junior positions in MPS at that time, was highly favored by top bosses in the police establishment and even by the ruling elite.
He is still in MPS and these elites continue to use him in shady deals or syndicates of drug trafficking and other evils and he is more than ready to kill or injur anyone in the process knowing that law enforcement agencies would not touch him.
The other anonymous warning to Liwilo coming after he reported Sergeant Papiyasi to the police, was that he would die.
Two days later after this warning, he was parsued by some unknown irate men who wanted to attack and kill him but they failed.
“I realized that Sergeant Papiyasi really meant to eliminate me over his missing package. I left Malawi and here I am in Europe. I do not want to come back home because I know Papiyasi is still looking for me all over the country and even across neighbouring countries.
“He is still determined to kill me. He is threatening my family and relatives that he would deal with them,” said Liwilo.
He added: “I know the Sergeant still has an arrest warrant for me. I do not know the exact details of the warrant and what it was issued for. All I know is that there is a warrant of arrest for me and I do not want to return to Malawi”.