Ben Phiri granted court bail: Ordered to pay K10m bond

The Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate Court on Monday granted bail to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) member of Parliament for Thyolo Central, Ben Malunga Phiri, who is being accused of pocketing K262 million from the Ministry of Gender for the work he never did.

A police officer leading Ben Phiri into the courtroom before the bail was granted

Chief Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa granted him bail after he paid K10 million cash bond and produced two people as surety at K5 million.

The former Minister of Local Government and Rural Development was arrested on Thursday on allegations that he sourced K262 million from the Ministry of Gender between 2018 and 2020 meant for purchasing of Early Childhood Development (ECD) learning materials.

The accused’s privately owned company registered as Beata Investment was the one responsible for supplying the learning material but failed to comply.

According to Chirwa, the state through Cecelia Zangazanga failed to provide clear evidence on how the accused may tamper with evidence while on bail in it’s unsubstantiated fear

On Thursday, Phiri was rushed to GoodHope Private Hospital in Lilongwe after he was taken ill while in the hands of the Police.

The State pleaded for continued detention of at least a week to be able to complete investigations claiming it was not possible to fully question the accused because of his sickness.

In response, lawyer representing the accused in court, Mauya Msuku told the court that Phiri, having taken note of the warrant of arrest, surrendered himself when it was possible to run away, describing Malawi borders as porous.

“Even an imagination that the accused person can influence evidence is not there. We are of the view that the state can take it’s time to investigate the matter while the accused is out on bail.”

Court hearing on Phiri’s case will continue on 14th January of 2022.

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