The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has disclosed plans to jointly charge the three suspects in the Zambia maize import scam, among them former minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda.
ACB deputy director general Reyneck Matemba told the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court yesterday that the prosecution intended to consolidate into one charge sheet as the cases were related.
He said: “We will be applying to the court to consolidate the charges. We separated the charge sheets to avoid transferring the suspects, either from Lilongwe to Blantyre or from Blantyre to Lilongwe for formal charging.”
The ACB on Wednesday arrested Chaponda, director of Transglobe Produce Limited Rashid Tayub and Grain Traders Association of Malawi chairperson Grace Mijiga Mhango.
Earlier yesterday, the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court granted bail to Mhango who the ACB arrested on Wednesday in connection with the Zambia maize deal in 2016.
The ACB has charged Mhango with forgery contrary to Section 351 of the Penal Code.
The offence carries a maximum three-year sentence, according to Section 356 of the Penal Code.
Reads Mhango’s charge sheet: “Grace Mijiga Mhango in or around July 2016 with intent to defraud or deceive forged a proforma invoice for Seven Seas Trading and Enterprise in such a manner as if to appear that the said invoice was issued by Seven Seas Trading and Enterprise which it was not.”
Lilongwe senior resident magistrate Shyreen Yona granted Mhango bail after considering that the State had not objected to its application.
The court ordered the suspect to pay K100 000 to the court and produce two non-cash sureties worth K2 million each.
She has also been ordered to surrender travel documents, report to ACB every fortnight and get permission before leaving Lilongwe.
In the bail application, Mhango, through her lawyer Chrispin Ndalama, said the court’s primary consideration was whether the accused person would avail herself for trial.
“The accused person has strong family ties. She has three children and resides in Malawi. She will be willing to provide reliable sureties,” he said.