High Court judge Silverster Kalembera has refused a bail request to Pakistani national Abdul Rehman Cotton Ginners Africa Limited (Cgal) who is jointly charged with board chairperson Mahomed Farook Ibrahim on suspicion of playing a part in the alleged defrauding of K20.9 billion from commercial banks through loans.
Rehman, one of the directors at Cgal, arrested upon arrival at Chileka International Airport in Blantyre.
He left Malawi for his homeland in June amid the bank fraud allegations.
In his determination on bail bid filed by his lawyer Lusungu Gondwe, Judge Kalembera noted that Rehman has dual nationality – Malawi and Pakistani -which is illegal in the country.
He said Rehman is a flight risk who “owes allegiance to his native Pakistan, where he had fled with his family. Thus, he is a foreigner, a Pakistani national. He returned to Malawi, leaving his family in Pakistan.”
Judge Kalembera pointed out that Rehman has no “emotional or family ties in Malawi.”
The Judge also observed that offences were “serious” and that the banks involved have established that it has a “strong case” against the suspects, saying that would be “enough incentive” for the Rehman to evade trial.
The two businesspersons are accused of defrauding various local commercial banks of K20.9 billion through loans obtained in the name of Cotton Ginners Africa Limited.
Court documents indicate that the major victim of the suspected fraud is Standard Bank Limited which is owed K8.6 billion followed by Reserve Bank of Malawi’s Export Development Fund which is owed about K4.1 billion.
Ecobank Malawi Limited facilitated a K3 499 481 627 loan, CDH Investment Bank is owed K4 476 302 691 while National Bank of Malawi (NBM) is owed K250 million.
Rehman was reportedly traced in Pakistan by by Malawian private investigators with an interest in the matter who reported him to authorities and negotiated his repatriation to Malawi. On the other hand, Ibrahim was within Malawi.
Court documents indicate that Rehman reportedly obtained the bank loans using different properties belonging to Cotton Ginners Africa Limited as securities.
He is believed to have remitted over $5 million (over K3.6 billion at the current exchange rate) in foreign accounts, according to an audit report by Audit Consult Advisory Services Limited dated July 23 2017 which is contained in court documents.
The amount at stake is K20 903 508 825, but it has also been established that total liabilities for Cotton Ginners Africa Limited is K23 656 808 338, with the company’s total assets pegged at K10 011 666 092.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has taken over the matter as Judge ordered that Rehman be brought before the court on October 27 for plea ad directions.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :