HC Deb 10 December 1963 vol 686 cc202-3
14. Mr. Goodhew

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what action has been taken to bring to justice the murderer or murderers of Village Headman Nandumbo, of the Kasupe District of Nyasaland

The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and for the Colonies (Wr. R. P. Hornby)

The Director of Public Prosecutions in Nyasaland has instructed that five Africans be charged with the murder of Village Headman Nandumbo. A preliminary inquiry is at present being held before the Resident Magistrate, Zomba, and the case is therefore sub judice.

Mr. Goodhew

Is my hon. Friend aware that this man was beaten to death last June, that his relatives were intimidated into burying his remains in secret, and that it was not until August that the police ordered that his body be exhumed, when it was found that his skull had been fractured and two ribs had been broken, one of which had pierced his heart? Have not the authorities been very lax in getting on with the matter?

Mr. Hornby

The case was reported to the Director of Public Prosecutions in Nyasaland on 9th September. Before authorising a prosecution, the Director required further statements from witnesses. Some time elapsed before the witnesses could be seen. There was inevitably, therefore, a delay before the Director of Public Prosecutions could institute proceedings in the middle of November.

Sir G. Nicholson

Will my hon. Friend confirm that law and order in Nyasaland on the whole reaches a high standard and that a though, as in any country, it is possible to pinpoint disasters and criminal occurrences, it is most unfair to draw any deductions harmful to the reputation of Nyasaland?

Mr. Hornby

A number of complaints have been made recently about law and order in Nyasaland. These have been very carefully investigated and a report has been published by the Deputy Governor's office. Copies of the report have been placed in the Library. The report shows that many of the complaints have been greatly exaggerated and that considerable improvements have been made in the administration of law and order. It is, I am sure, the determined wish of the Nyasaland Government, no less than of ourselves, that justice should be properly administered there.