9 more nights in police custody for suspected Covid-19 funds looters

The Chief Resident Magistrate’s Court in Lilongwe has denied bail to three suspects accused of defrauding government K97 million meant for Covid-19 intervention.

The three Rashid Mtelela, Martin Mainja and Dominic Chimaliro are alleged to have defrauded government K97 million through awarding of a contract to a company owned by Mainja which carried out disinfection exercise at Capital Hill and Kamuzu Palace.

On Wednesday, the State asked the Court to remand the accused for 14 days but according to a determination by Chief Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa, the three should be remanded for 9 days whilst police carry on with their investigations.

“The State had made an application for further remand for the accused persons for 14 days, the court has in principle agreed with the State that there is need for more investigations and those investigation can done while the accused persons are still in custody.

“We will do the same on the third of May, we hope by that time, the so-called investigations will have been done,” said Khwima Mchizi, one of the defence lawyers.

Mchizi however stressed that the defense will make another bail application for their client when the court resumes hearing on May 3, 2021.

“When the court resumes on 3rd May for further hearing of the preliminary issues, we will re-apply bail for our clients,” Mchizi said.

The three are part of a series of arrests that the Police has instituted following an Auditor General`s investigative report on the abuse and mismanagement of the Covid-19 funds.

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