The Blantyre Magistrate’s Court is tomorrow expected to deliver its ruling on bail application by three Blantyre Water Board (BWB) employees suspected to have defrauded the parastatal about K150 million.
The three including the board’s former debt collector Brian Makote, and his accomplices Oscar Kapito and Paul Mang’ani are facing charges of conspiracy, theft by public servant, forgery, producing false documents and money laundering.
They are suspected to have opened a parallel welfare fund account at Nedbank where four cheques from the Malawi Police Service (MPS) and State Residences amounting to K150 million were deposited into the account between May and August 2017.
Encashment and funds transfer to Multi Electricals bank account held at FDH Bank worth K25 million were some of the transactions made from the account.
Multi Electrical bank account is linked to Obina Liwonde, an employee of BWB working as a construction clerk.
However, the fraud was exposed in August this year after Makote allegedly went to withdraw K20 million from the account.
He then sneaked out to Botswana using the Mwanza border post where he was later arrested by International Police (Interpol).
Kapito, suspected to have been a signatory for the parallel account was the first to be arrested in September last year while Makote, first appeared before the same court after he was extradited to the country end September.
Senior resident magistrate Viva Nyimba denied him bail twice on the premise that he was a flight risk and that the country has porous borders that would easily permit him to flee again, having done so before.
On the other hand, Mang’ani, a third accused said to have been on the run since November last year appeared in court for the first time on Monday following his arrest last Saturday.
Regional prosecution inspector superintendent Patricio Filimoni told the court that much as section 42 of the constitution provides for the right to bail, the court should consider how the police struggled to arrest the suspects.
“It is our wish that the accused be fully remanded to prison for the smooth continuation of the case. They should not be granted bail as they are a flight risk,” he maintained.
Nyimba said now that another accused person was added to the case, he needed more time before coming up with the ruling.
He then adjourned the case to Tuesday 9:30 in the morning.
Since the beginning of trial in November last year, the court has paraded eight witnesses and according to the prosecution team they are remained with one more witness.
All the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges.