Covid-19 funds plunder: Court grants bail to 8 suspects

The Chief Resident Magistrate Court in Blantyre has granted bail to eight Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services officers accused of plundering part of the K6.2 billion Covid-19 funds.

Making her ruling on Tuesday, Chief Resident Magistrate Jean Kaira said the accused persons will be on bail under some conditions.

The conditions include payment of K200, 000 cash each, two traceable sureties with a bond of K500, 000 non cash each and they will be reporting to Blantyre police every Friday.

The suspects have also been ordered to surrender their travelling documents and seek permission before living Blantyre.

Meanwhile Chief Resident Magistrate, Jean Kaira, has recused herself from the case citing that she went to Chancellor College together with one of the accused, Linda Minjale.

She has since said the case will be taken over by Chief Resident Magistrate Akiya Mwanyongo.

Speaking after the ruling, one of the defense lawyers, Joseph Chiume, expressed gratitude with the ruling.

Chiume said: “We are happy with the ruling because every accused person has the constitutional right to bail and the court has just exercised its function.”

He further said the defense will now be waiting to be served with a notice of hearing.

“Our duty will be to defend the accused persons and make sure that they will be exonerated because after reviewing the facts of the matter the defense team is of the opinion that they are innocent.

The State prosecutor was not available for comment.

The accused persons are answering charges of abuse of office and fraud.

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