The Malawi judiciary has dismissed fears that vital information might be missing following the stripping of motherboards and other related items for 15 computers at the Blantyre High Court and Magistrate Court.
According to Judiciary spokesperson, Mlenga Mvula, the tampered computers were fixed in courtrooms and were being used by court reporters for transcribing court proceedings.
Mvula however admitted that theft of the motherboards has dragged court reporters in awkward situation as they will now be transcribing court proceedings manually.
The theft is suspected to have taken place between January 12 2015 and February 4 2015 and 10 affected computers were at the High Court with the other five at the Magistrate Court.
During this period, the courts were not working due to the strike by Judiciary support staff who were demanding higher pay, and the suspects were said to have taken advantage of the situation to steal the computer items such as hard drives, memory chips and heat sinks, among others.
The judiciary discovered that motherboards in apparently properly cased central processing units (CPUs) were missing from courtrooms one and two. And further investigations revealed that more computers in other courtrooms were also affected.
This led to the arrest of three court marshals, Elliot Mahewe, 52; Weston Muyiwa, 36, and 35 year-old Felistine Muzandiwandila.
They were apparently arrested because they were keeping keys to the courtrooms and charged with breaking into a building and committing felony therein, contrary to Section 311 of the Penal Code.
However, Senior Resident Magistrate Viva Nyimba acquitted the three court marshals after they told the court on Friday that they did not have any technical knowledge on computers.
Following that, the Judiciary’s System Analyst 26 year-old Kumbukani Chiwoni was eventually arrested on the same day, Friday, February 6 2015.
Meanwhile, Senior Blantyre Resident Magistrate Court on Monday granted bail to Chiwoni.
Senior resident Magistrate Viva Nyimba ordered that Chiwoni be freed on bail after the law enforcers failed to bring the Police IT expert.
Nyimba said he was very disappointed that the whole Southern region police has no IT expert and they expect one to Blantyre from the capital Lilongwe.
Nyimba stressed that everyone is innocent until proven guilty before the law and ordered the Malawi Police to prepare well and come to court on 4 March, 2015.–(Additional reporting by Alfred Chauwa, Nyasa Times)Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :