Property worth over K200 million was lost in the fire that gutted Mzuzu City Council (MCC) planning offices on the night of September 15 to 16,2017.
The offices are suspected to have been set on fire by some angry vendors plying their trade at Mzuzu’s Zigwagwa Market in retaliation to the destruction of their structures by the MCC the same night.
Apart from the fire, the suspected angry vendors damaged the city Mayor’s house in Mchengatuwa by breaking windowpanes.
Eight people arrested for allegedly being involved in the incidents appeared in court Thursday to answer three charges of arson, causing malicious damage and unlawful wounding.
Police Prosecutor, Betty Msowoya asked the court not to grant bail to the suspects for fear of interfering with police investigations which are still under way.
She pleaded with the court to give the State seven days to finish its investigations.
“If granted bail, they will interfere with our investigations but they should still be remanded while we are continuing with more arrests. These suspects have damaged a lot of property for the city council which is very difficult to recover. We believe there are more than these eight involved in this case.
“To damage property amounting to K209, 374, 000 is not an easy thing, the council has lost a lot,” Msowoya said.
Defence lawyer, Moses Chinkhwantha requested for a bail and said his clients could not interfere in police investigations since some of them surrendered themselves to police.
He asked the court to release a minibus to the owner Patrick Bosili which was impounded by the police for allegedly transporting the suspects.
Senior Resident Magistrate Brian Sambo adjourned the case to Tuesday, October 17,2017 when he will make a determination on whether to grant bail or not to the accused.
“I have taken down your concerns both of you but I reserve the ruling on bail till Tuesday as I have not analyzed them; I have to look at the law properly on those two issues of bail and minibus,” he told the court.