Seven Karonga district council officials arrested on Wednesday for allegedly misusing Masaf 4 funds were on Friday granted court bail with conditions that they should not leave the district or go to their offices without the police and District Commissioner’s (DC) knowledge.
The seven suspects who are all civil servants were arrested on 14th September, 2014 after the ordered by the district council.
Police prosecutor Kelvin Kamanga, however, pleaded the court not to grant bail to the suspects.
This is because of the security reasons of the suspects and that the accused may interfere the investigation,” pleaded Kamanga.
Lawyer for Karonga ‘cashagate’ suspects, Mzuzu-based Christon Ghambi argued in court that arrests were influenced by councillors, not the law.
“My clients were arrested without being audited therefore denying them bail will infringe their rights,” argued Ghambi.
Karonga first grade magistrate Chakaka Nyirenda agreed with the defense lawyer.
“No tangible evidence have been produced to this court that the suspects’ security is at stake or if they will tamper with the investigation,” said Nyirenda.
“This court is therefore granting you bail with the conditions that each of you should pay a cash bond of K20, 000, not tampering with investigations, appearing to the police station every Friday,” he ruled.
In a twist of event, the Director of Administration James Tembo spent some hours in police custody before released with the help of councilors after DC Rosemary Moyo implicated him in the scam.
Meanwhile, the community and the CSOs who pressured their arrest are yet to issue a comment on the matter.
The suspects include David Yafeti, David Gondwe, Sam Mbale, Aaron Chaponda and Philemon Maseko among others.