Magistrate Viva refuses bail to fraud suspect Makote

Blantyre Senior Resident Magistrate Viva Nyimba on Tuesday refused to grant bail  to former Blantyre Water Board (BWB) employee Brian Makote  charged with  conspiracy, theft by public servant, forgery, uttering false documents and money laundering involving K128 million.

Makote: Remanded at Chichiri prison

The former debt collector appeared before the court on Monday after he was arrested in Botswana by the International Police (Interpol) last month and extradited to Malawi last Friday. He applied for bail.

Nyimba in his determination on the bail application, said he could not release Makote considering that Malawi has porous borders which will make it easy for the suspect to escape the country.

“Having weighed arguments from both sides, I believe it will not be in the interest of justice to release the suspect on bail, for even after surrendering their travel documents, some have managed to flee the country using unchartered roots,” he argued.

Nyimba further said keeping the suspect on remand  at  Chichiri prison waiting for commencement of trial on November 3 will ensure smooth running of the case.

“The period will also allow the police to conclude their investigations on the matter and serve disclosures for trial to begin,” he added.

Nyimba advised Makote’s lawyer Chancy Gondwe that he could  make another bail bid upon commencement of trial.

Regional Prosecution Inspector Superintendent Patricio Filimoni expressed satisfaction over the court’s decision, saying the law enforcers  “struggled” to have Makote  arrested “up to the extent of engaging the Interpol.”

He said: “ Suppose he is granted bail and then flee the country, how would we approach the Interpol again? Surely they would not take us serious.”

Makote’s lawyer Chancy Gondwe argued that Makote is just like any other suspected criminal who is presumed innocent until an honourable court proves otherwise.

Makote fled the country with his accomplice Obina who used to work as a plumber . They are suspected to have siphoned the money using a parallel account they opened at Nedbank Malawi Limited Blantyre Branch.

The account had deposits of cheques from State Residences and Malawi Police Services amounting to K150 million. They were written ‘Pay Blantyre Water Board’ and the suspected would add Social Welfare at the end to read ‘ Blantyre Water Board Social Welfare’.

But about K25 million was moved into FDH bank account of Multi Electricals which Police said it belongs to Liwonde.

Another suspect in the matter Foster Kapito is also on remand at Chichiri prison. Kapito is suspected to have been a signatory for the parallel account.

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