The Chief Resident Magistrate’s Court in Lilongwe has granted bail to Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima.
Delivering her bail ruling, Magistrate Madalitso Khoswe Chimwaza has directed that Chilima should pay a cash-bond of K1 million, produce one surety bonded at K2 million non-cash, surrender travelling documents to court and be reporting to Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) offices once every three months.
She added that the conditions will subsist until varied by the High Court.
The court has since charged Chilima with six counts bordering on corrupt practices by a public officer, receiving advantage for using influence in regard to contracts and failing to make a full report to a police officer or an officer of the Bureau.
According to the Bureau, between March 2021 and October 2021 in Lilongwe District Chilima corruptly received for himself a total sum of $280,000.00 from Zuneth Sattar as a reward for the said Chilima to assist Xaviar Limited to be awarded the Food Ration Packs Contract Reference Number MPS/SB/16/04/2021 worth $7, 875, 000.00 by the Malawi Government for the Malawi Police Service (MPS).
Said Chrispine Khunga, ACB’s Director of Legal and Prosecution: “We could not proceed with plea because the defense requested that they should look at the charges properly and advise him he could plead to the charges, so plea didn’t proceed, what happened is that the reasons of arrest were explained to him.
“Looking at the magnitude of this case it’s a big case, not just because it involves a sitting vice president but also because of other issues that require proper considerations.”
Khunga has also disclosed that the prosecution team will be joined by Senior Counsel Modecai Msiska who has already been engaged to lead the prosecution team, what is remaining is just the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to appoint him and take up the prosecution.
“We planned to bring him [Msiska] in because of the experience, expertise and the skills he has which can be jailed and added to the internal skills that are there in the Bureau,” said Khunga.
Meanwhile, Chilima’s legal team says will be waiting for the Bureau to put its case in order.
“For now, we have no reactions, we can actually say it’s a process we have been waiting for a while and today the charges have been read out and we will wait for the next move by the State.
“It’s their choice, each client has got the right to choose who they want to represent them so I can’t comment on that,” said George Mtchuka Mwale, one of defense lawyers.
“Well, I will not comment on that, I think it’s an inappropriate to do that to do that so, so let me say I shouldn’t comment on this until when it’s right to do so,” said Chilima after being released.