Magistrate Viva to rule on bail bid for fraud suspect Makote: Forged State House cheques

The Blantyre Magistrate’s Court will Tuesday rule whether former Blantyre Water Board (BWB) employee, Brian Makote, charged with  conspiracy, theft by public servant, forgery, uttering false documents and money laundering involving K128 millionshould be released on bail.

Magistrate Viva Nyimba: To make a ruling on bail

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.

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.

Southern Region Prosecution Officer Christopher Katani told the court that the suspect was brought in the court to be told on why he is being kept under custody according to section 161 of the constitution.

He asked the court that Makoti should remain on remand as he is a flight risk as Liwonde is still at large.

“Your worship, much as every suspected criminal has a right to be granted bail, we all know that the right is not absolute. This suspect here is a flight risk and to ensure a smooth trial he needs to remain under custody,” he argued.

But Makoti’s lawyer Chancy Gondwe  argued that the suspect “never fled” but that he went to Botswana “to have a breather.”

He said: “How could he have fled to Botswana which he certainly knows has an extradition treaty with Malawi. And as a matter of fact he did not resist police arrest as he surrendered himself to Interpol.”

Gondwe further said the court was at liberty to put tough conditions on the bail which include asking Makote to surrender all his travel documents if it fears so.

Senior Resident Magistrate Viva Nyimba then adjourned the case to Tuesday at 2 PM for his ruling on the bail application arguing that the matter requires thoughtful ruling.

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