The owner of the boat that recently capsized at Mlowe in Rumphi, killing six people after Easter appeared before Nkhata Bay First Grade Magistrate Court Wednesday where he pleaded not guilty to the charge of sending unseaworthy vessel on Lake Malawi.
The court heard that on April 16, 2017 at new Salawe (northern part of Malawi), Nkhugomegza kupemphera Boat belonging to a 69-year- old man, Harrison Ngwira, carried 72 instead of 30 passengers, which is the authorized number for the said boat.
The boat capsized due to overloading which led to the death of six passengers and the missing of 10 of the 54 passengers survived in the accident.
The court heard that the boat operator was still missing, but the police managed to arrest the owner of the boat, r Ngwira.
According to The Nation of April 27,2017, Ngwira had surrendered himself to Rumphi Police on April 24, 2017 after the boat operator, who happens to be his son, escaped after the tragedy.
He is still at large.
The Nkhata Bay- based businessman is answering the charge of sending of an unseaworthy vessel to the waters of Lake Malawi, contrary to Section 150(2) of the Inland Waters Shipping Act.
Ngwira denied the charge, arguing he was not aware of the boat trip and that he was not the boat operator at the time.
State witness, Police Prosecutor Sergeant Keston Chiona, said there was need for more time for the State to mobilize its witnesses.
“Since the accused has denied the charge brought against him, as a State, we will investigate the case and bring our witnesses to testify to the case,” he said.
The First Grade Magistrate Maston Phiri has since adjourned the case to May 23, 2017, when the State is expected to parade its witnesses.
The accused is now on bail.
The boat, which carried mostly members of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Synod of Livingstonia on Easter Sunday, was going to Tcharo from Mlowe in Rumphi District.
It capsized halfway through the journey at Zunga.
Ngwira hails from Kabero Village in the area of Sub Traditional Authority Mkondowe in Nkhata Bay District.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :