CSOs want Mangochi District Council  fraud case heard in open court

Civil Society Organizations (CSO) network in Mangochi have written a Second Grade Magistrate Court to hear a fraud case involving Mangochi District Council workers in an open court.

Lawyer Dick Chimowa wants the case in chamber

Augustine Mizaiah to hear a fraud case involving Mangochi district council works in an open court.

The CSO’s Chairperson Aggrey Mfune, who is signatory to the letter, confirmed in an interview with Thursday that they have written Second Grade Magistrate Augustine Mizaiah a letter asking for the same.

Last week, Monday, the court granted bail to Gift Kamunga, David Nyondo and Davis Kasanthula who are district council workers in the accounts department.

The three were arrested for being suspected of misappropriating K43 million.

During the bail hearing on Monday, defense lawyer Gift Dick Chimowa asked the court to hear the case in chambers, which the court accepted.

But CSOs are arguing that the suspects are civil servants and the money they are suspected to have mismanaged is for the public hence the case should be held in an open court.

“The case…which is being held in your Chambers has attracted a special attention from the general public considering that the money in question is for the public and we wonder why the case in not in an open court,” reads part of the letter.

“The general public would like to be following the case since the suspects are public servants and the money in question is tax payers’ money; and the public would like to follow the proceedings to know what really transpired,” the CSO’s say in the letter.

Mfune said in an interview that continuing to hear the case in the Chambers would raise more questions as to what they are afraid of.

“This case is of national importance and everyone wants to know the truth. We have had big cases in the past but they were not held in Chambers.

“Continuing with the case in private will be doing injustice to the public and will even make people angrier,” Mfune said.

Meanwhile, the CSOs have requested to join the case as friends of the court arguing that they represent the voiceless tax payers.

Meanwhile, the court will resume hearing the case on Tuesday when the State is expected to formally charge the suspects.

Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Principal Secretary Charles Kalemba was quoted by the media as saying the fraud was uncovered when a new director of finance was deployed to the council.

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