There is a twist to the case involving a police officer in Mzuzu who allegedly raped and impregnated a primary school girl in December, 2011.
Early this year, Police in Mzuzu opened a rape case against the officer, Lightwell Chikoza, to which he pleaded not guilty.
However, the girlâ€™s mother discontinued the criminal case, opting instead to pursue a civil suit against Chikoza to get compensation.
“I wanted him [Chikoza] to pay damages for impregnating my daughter, to maintain the pregnancy and the child as well,” court records quoted her as saying.
She added that the decision to discontinue the case was made after consulting relatives and her Anglican Church.
The documents also quoted the mother as saying: “I am a poor person as you can see and I have a lot of responsibilities. I cannot manage to take care of the girl (name withheld) in her condition. I want [the daughter] to go back to school.”
Regional prosecutions officer for the North, John Mpaso, now retired, closed the file.
In an interview, the mother admitted asking for damages, saying that was the option the family wanted.
“We were told that with a criminal trial, the man could be convicted, but we would get nothing. This is why we decided to pursue a civil case because we would be able to get something,” she said, dismissing rumours circulating in the city that police influenced the decision.
Northern Region Police spokesman Norah Chimwala also denied that police influenced the family to turn the case civil to save their colleague from imprisonment.
Said Chimwala: “Cases are handled according to what the complainants want. If it is for damages, you cannot take them to the criminal courts. So, the complainant chose the civil way of sorting out the issue.”
Another file, Civil Case 29 of 2012, was then opened. This was between the mother and Chikoza. She was demanding damages from the police officer for impregnating her daughter.
On April 18, 2012, Chikoza was found guilty.
First grade magistrate Anthony Banda ordered him to pay K150 000 (about $600); K50 000 (about $2 000) the same day and K10 000 (about $40) in monthly instalments.
However, on June 6, 2012, the court issued a warrant of arrest for Chikoza for failing to honour the payments.
“The man was called and we heard that he could not manage since he was on half pay after you reported the matter in the newspaper,” said the mother.
Nation on Sunday tried on several occasions to speak to Chikoza, but the officer could not be reached.
As of June 19, he had only paid K30 000 (about $120) out of the K150 000 (about $600).
The girlâ€™s mother sought the intervention of the court so that Chikoza provides assistance for the yet-to-be-born baby.
Magistrate Banda ordered him to buy the following items: 10 napkins, three gowns, six pieces of zitenje, clothes, two baby blankets, two baby shirts, warm clothes, bathing basin, plastic sheet, umbrella, baby powder, baby lotion, three plastic pants and a baby bag.
He was also ordered to pay K3 000 (about $12) every month as transport for the pregnant girl.
The daughter sat Primary School Leaving Certificate of Education examinations while pregnant, according to her mother.