Malawi court grants bail to suspected child trafficker in Muslim students’ saga

A First Grade Magistrate’s court in Malawi’s northern region border district of Karonga has granted bail to a suspected child trafficker Abdul Mallick Audrey on conditions that he must give the court 100 thousand Malawi kwacha and two traceable witnesses which each should give twenty thousand kwacha.

First Grade Magistrate’s Chakaka Nyirenda ruled that the suspect should stay on one specific place where they can reach him easily, saying that he has two homes one in Zanzibar and another in Balaka.

The Magistrate further ordered the suspect to report to Mzuzu Police Station every Monday where he has agreed to stay until the case is concluded.

The court granted the bail following the re-application by George Kadzipatike, lawyer for the suspect, after the same court rejected an earlier application.

Audrey Malick Audrey: freed on bail
Audrey Malick Audrey: freed on bail

“Now the State has finished their investigations but there is no any fact proving that the children were taken for exploitation,” said Kadzipatike.

He added that the charge sheet presented by the police prosecutor on the matter is defective saying none of the police witnesses has said that the children has been exploited.

“Malawi government allows anyone to learn where ever he or she wants, so what the prosecutor is saying of not taking acceptance from Muslim Association Malawi and from the District Education  is not a valid reason to assume that the school children were taken for exploitation,” argued Kadzipatike.

Police Inspector Peter Piringu , prosecuting, argued that out of 20 children 12 will write their standard eight examinations which will start on 15 May; therefore the suspect has disturbed their preparation which is exploitation.

He added that the suspect transferred the primary school pupils from different districts without the consent of the government.

“The state believe that the pupils were going to be exploited because the suspect failed to follow necessary procedures to take the kids to Zanzibar for training while he was advised  by the General Secretary of Muslim Association Malawi on what to do on the matter,” said the prosecutor.

He further said that although the temporal travel documents that the suspect were using are valid they are however outdated as he was he was authorized on 17 January to go to Zanzibar which is over by now.

The prosecutor told the court that the suspect has no specific place to stay, saying the suspect claims to belong to Balaka but he is having a family in Zanzibar.

“The state has proved the case beyond reasonable doubts and the suspect has a case to answer,” challenged the state prosecutor.

The court adjourned the case to 17 May for plea after the state representative and the suspect representative presented their submissions on the case.

Police in Karonga arrested Abdul Malick Audrey of Senior Traditional Authority Nkaya in Balaka and Mustafa Ndelemani of Missikatema Traditional Authority Mponda in Mangochi on 4 May 2013 for allegedly trafficking 26 Muslim students under the pretext of taking them for training to Zanzibar.

However, the court on 10 May released Mustafa Ndelemani the owner of Estcourse Islamic Primary School on the allegation that he is innocent on the case and ordered him to take the children to school to prepare for their examinations which are about to start.

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