One of the suspects in the Capital Hill cashgate scandal Kettie Chingoli Kamwangala has been granted bail by the Supreme Court in Blantyre.
Kamwangala and seven others were granted bail at Lilongwe High Court with restrictive conditions but the presiding Judge Ivy Kamanga ordered the accused to be incarcerated for further 21 days.
Among the restrictive conditions, Kamwangala was given K50 million non-cash bail bond, and was ordered to provide two sureties bonded at K2.5 million cash each.
But on Tuesday morning, the Supreme Court judge Justice Lovemore Chikopa ordered Kamwangala to be released forthwith and varied all set restrictive bail conditions.
Justice Chikopa granted the bail with no sureties as well as cash bonds in a hearing that was held in Chamber.
The court ordered Kamwangala to surrender her travel documents; not to leave the jurisdiction without the consent of the Registrar of the High Court Lilongwe; to be reporting to Regional Police Headquarters every fortnight upon her release.
She has also been ordered to furnish title documents for her Area 47 residence and not to deal or transfer the said property without the consent of the court and a caution shall be entered over this property.
The court ordered that there should also be no change of transfer over her two vehicles and a caution be entered restraining further dealings or transfer of title of these two vehicles at the Road Traffic Directorate.
“The Supreme Court has granted the Appel and the punitive bail conditions have been quashed. Upon meeting the conditions, the Appelant is to be released,” explained Kamwangala’s counsel, Chancy Gondwe.
According arguments tendered before Justice Chikopa, Gondwe argued that the lower court’s rulling was against the weight of the evidence that was before it.
“The Honorable Judge failed to appreciate that bail being a Constitutional right the Appellant ought to have been released forthwith in the absence of any tangible/ cogent evidence that the Appellant would have interfered with the investigations, and that the Learned DPP had not adduced sufficient evidence or made any allegation that the Appellant is a flight risk,” Gondwe argued.
He further argued that the bail conditions were punitive and unconstitutional and we’re tantamount to denying bail altogether.
Kamwangala was charged with money laundering and theft of K28 million (about $70 000) from government between July and September this year and pleaded not guilty to both charges.
Other ‘cashgate women’ facing the charges are Sibongile Chimphango, Caroline Savala and Laura Savala.
Businessperson Caroline Savala accused of obtaining about K84.9 million (about $213 000) from Malawi Government pleaded not guilty to the two charges of theft and money laundering.
Building contractor, Laura Savala, is accused of siphoning K160.6 million (about $401 500) through the Ministry of Tourism between July and September this year.
Sibongile Chimphango is accused of stealing K286 million (about $715 000) for payment of services not rendered to government.
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