The Mzuzu Chief Residents Magistrate Tecious Masoyamphambe has on Tuesday denied bail to the eight Tanzanian nationals who were arrested on 20 December last year at Kayerekera Uranium Mine Site in Karonga on allegations of criminal trespsass.
The Tanzanian nationals aged between 25 and 63 were found loitering at the mine and were allegedly sent by the Tanzania government to investigate if Malawi is creating nuclear weapons at Kayerekera mine site according to some security personnel.
The eight, all from Songeya in Tanzania are, Ashura Yasiri, 63, Walasa Mwasangu, 30, Binto Materinus, 32, Christian Msoli, 38, Martin Jodomusole, 25, Layinali Kumba, 47, Maliyu Mkobe, 37 and Gilbert Mahumdi, 32.
They were dumped by their lawyer Tadala Tembo at eleventh hour when they appeared in court which was held in Karonga district.
When the court hearing was about to start, drama erupted when the alleged spies demanded their fellow Tanzanian national to be the interpretor.
“We are failing to understand what the court is saying because your interpretor is poorly translating our language, we therefore need a good interpretor from our country,” said one of them/
However, the court managed to hire a translator from Misuku magistrate court in Chitipa district.
The court then told the group their charges which include criminal trespass which is contrary to Section 314 of the Penal Codeand carrying out scouting (suspicious equipment) without permission.
When asked for a bail, the police through the director of legal services Mwayi Kaluwa argued that tracing the group will be difficult because they are foreigners.
Kaluwa further noted that giving the bail to the suspects will jeopardize their investigation.
Concurring with the police, Magistrate Masoyamphambe ruled that the eight suspects should remain in the hands of the police.
He then adjourned the case to 26 January this year for further hearing.
Tanzanian’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, East African and International Cooperation Augustine Mahiga said his government had instituted an inquiry into the matter.
He said reports of spies were serious allegations and would be followed up with Tanzania’s Embassy in Malawi and their intelligence people on the matter.
According to Songwe Immigration Office spokesperson Yusuf Shaibu, the Tanzanian officials, comprising Deputy Commissioner for Immigration Service Taniel Magwaza and his deputy John Njiragiza came in the country to inquire about the arrests.
Meanwhile, the Commons of Ecjojustice joins the case as an interested party and is seeking legal representation for the Tanzanian nationals.
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