Lilongwe Magisrtrate Coutt has ordered the release on bail of Cecilia Kumpukwe, sister to Malawi’s former president, Joyce Banda and two others following their arrest in connection to a fake resignation letter allegedly written by Vice President Saulos Chilima.
Police first arrested People’s Party official Stella Assani then Kumpukwe. They also arrested Stanley Mkwala.
The trio were taken to court on Thursday to be formally charged.
State prosecutor laid charges of the three which are;
- Making false document contrary to section 353 of the penal code
- Publishing of false news likely to cause fear of alarm contrary to section 60 of the penal code
First accused Assani, 52 years old, is being represented by lawyer Nicely Msowoya, Bright Theu is attorney for Kumpukwe while lawyer Chimwemwe Sikwese is lawyer for Mkwala.
State prosecutors Mwai Kalua and Nappier Chafikana – all from police -indicated that they need seven days to finish investigations especially in interviewing the witnesses and asked the court to remand the suspects in prison.
The defense applied for bail of the three and Senior Resident Magistrate Chisomo Nsokera granted on conditions quashing prosecutors plea to refuse bail.
“The State needs to give compelling grounds of evidence as how the defendants will interfere in investigations which they say they are yet to interview the witness. I find it’s reasons of imterferenance too general as it doesn’t demonstrate how the defendants would interfere,” said Nsokera in the packed court room.
“I therefore proceed to order the release of the three accused on bail,” he said.
“The submissions of the State are neither sufficient nor compelling [to move the court to grant its application]. This court therefore grants bail to the accused persons with conditions attached,” he said.
However, he imposed conditions to the bail that each accused pay K400,000 cash and two sureties bonded with K150,000 non cash.
One of the sureties examined by the court was Roy Kachale Banda, MP for Zomba Malosa and son to former president Banda.
The three have also been ordered to surrender their travel documents.
Court also ordered that Assani and Kumpukwe, who are based in Blantyre, must report to Southern Region Police Headquarters every Tuesday before 12 PM until the case ends.
While Mkwala will be reporting to National Police Headquarters in Lilongwe.
The matter has since been adjourned to May 29 2017 when the suspects are expected to take plea.
PP supporters led by acting president Uladi Mussa, members of parliament trooped to the court.
The Party supporters describe the arrest of the three as politically motivated.
They sang and danced while singing sarcastic songs, accusing the police of being a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) tool for harassing and silencing the opposition.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :