Barely a day after the Mzuzu Magistrate Court acquitted an Immigration Officer on corruption charges, Fiscal Police on Monday arrested another Immigration Officer and a Bank Teller on allegations that they conspired to steal MK70,000 belonging to the Malawi government.
The arrests come barely a few months after Malawi President Mrs. Joyce Banda singled out the Regional immigration Office in Mzuzu as the hub where fraudulent passports are processed for illegal immigrants.
“Interestingly I have some passports of people who cannot even utter any single word of Chichewa or any other Malawian language. And they got their passports in Mzuzu. Let’s love Malawi,” she said.
The President said this in Mzuzu during an Interdenominational memorial prayer service for the 20th July 2011 victims held at the Mzuzu stadium.
The Mzuzu suspects 27 year old Daniel Chitokoseni who works as Immigration Assistant in Mzuzu and 25 year old Stella Kamsiya, the Bank Teller for Malawi Savings Bank spend one night in the cooler at Mzuzu Police Station while their lawyer Christon Ghambi of CHRAM Associates processed their bail.
The two face two counts of Conspiracy to commit a felony contrary to section 404 of the Penal code and theft by a person employed in the public service, contrary to section 283 (1) of the penal code.
According to a charge sheet criminal case number 65 of 2012, Chitokoseni and Kamsiya on 21st August, 2012 at Mzuzu Immigration Office in Mzuzu, being persons employed in the public service, received or had in their custody or under their control money amounting to MK70,000 the property of Malawi and were unable to produce the said money to their employer or make due account there for.
During their bail hearing on Tuesday they all denied the charges and Police Prosecutor Superintendent Christopher Katani asked the court to deny them bail arguing that the case is a serious one, saying there is a possibility that the suspects might tamper with investigations.
But lawyer Ghambi told the court that the case was bailable arguing that if the state had not finished its investigations then there was no point in making the arrests in the first place.
“What if the state’s investigations reveal that the suspects are not the ones who committed the offence? The fact that the state is not through with its investigations is reason enough for releasing them on bail,” Ghambi said.
Resident Magistrate Bright Banda ruled in favor of the suspects and granted them bail.
They paid MK15,000 cash each, produced two sureties each bonded at MK10,000 not cash and will be required to report to Police every Monday.
“You should not tamper with witnesses,” Banda added.
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