Laywer Kalekeni Kaphale represening opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) top members on charges of treason, said it was “great relief” for the High Court in Lilongwe to release his client on bail.
High Court Judge Ivy Kamanga on Thursday granted bail to the 10 accused, who include acting DPP President Peter Mutharika and former cabinet ministers, and will now face an anxious wait for their trial.
The suspects were charged with treason following an alleged coup plot last year after the sudden death of former President Bingu wa Mutharika in April 2012.
“It is a great relief that they have finally been released on bail,” said Kaphale.
“Justice has prevailed, we once again as a nation we have all shown that we are all bound by the Constitution and follow it,” added.
Kaphale said “government argued in court that the 11 should be put under house arrest and report to police three times a week, and be allowed a maximum three visitors at a time, among others conditions”.
Justice Kamanga granted bail on condition that they provide two sureties each amounting to K7 million (non cash), surrender all their travel documents (passports) to police and also report to police once every two weeks.
The judge also asked all the accused to pay cash bond of K250 000, 00 each as well as desist from presenting their opinions on the matter until the case is concluded.
The accused have further been advised not to travel outside their areas of residing without prior notice to the Commissioner of Police in their respective regions.
Commenting on the bail conditions, Kaphale said he was yet to discuss with his clients as such he could not give a perfect response.
Hundreds of DPP supporters who had thronged the court went crazy after hearing the news as they chanted “Wakwiya ndi mfiti…’ while others run up and down amid car horns hooting.
Speaker of the National Assembly, Henry Chimunthu Banda, who rarely attends his party’s events, was among the top politicians who showed up at the court for the bail hearing and his presence also brought jubilation to the DPP followers.
Other senior DPP officials included the former First Lady Calista Mutharika, Dr George Chaponda, Yunus Mussa and Leston Mulli.
The 10 suspects include Peter Mutharika, current Economic Development Minister Goodal Gondwe, former ministers Henry Mussa, Nicholas Dausi, Symon Vuwa Kaunda, Kondwani Nakhumwa, Patricial Kaliyati and Jean Kalirani.
Adding to the list of the politicians were replaced Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Bright Msaka, deputy chief secretary Necton Mhura and former President’s Legal Advisor Allan Ntata.
Duncan Mwapatsa, former Presidential Guard Commander, who was also amongst the arrested but not formally charged, was granted bail Wednesday.
Several different charges were placed on the 11 suspects which included treason, inciting mutiny conspiracy to commit a felony, neglect of public duty, breach of trust of a public officer and disobedience of statutory duty.
No date was set for the next court hearing in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi.
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