The Mzuzu First Grade Magistrate’ Court has granted bail to three Mzuzu Standard Bank K543.6 million robbery suspects.
The court had last week denied bail to the suspects, who have been in custody for about a month, after the police said they were still investigating the case and that the suspects would be helpful in tracking other suspects at large.
However, when the court sat for bail ruling on Thursday, Northern Region Police prosecutor Christopher Katani asked magistrate Cuthbert Phiri not to grant the bail to the suspects, arguing there is a new warrant of arrest for one of the suspects, Ken Kamwambi, a police officer. The warrant issued by the Magistrate’s Court in Limbe, Blantyre, is on another robbery case.
But reacting to Katani’s submission, defence lawyer George Kadzipatike said there was precedent that Cashgate suspect Oswald Lutepo has been granted three different bails by three different courts; hence, it would be unreasonable to deny the suspects bail because of a new warrant of arrest.
He said the police were at liberty to re-arrest Kamwambi after bail had been granted as was the case with Lutepo.
“If the police want, they can re-arrest my client. This case is not peculiar. Oswald Lutepo who is answering a case involving K3.3 billion is out on bail granted by Justice Mwase in the High Court in Zomba. He is also out on bail on a charge of perjury before the Senior Resident Magistrate’s Court in Lilongwe. The same person is on another bail in a case of attempted murder which was granted by the High court in Lilongwe,” argued Kadzipatike.
Phiri agreed with Kadzipatike, saying there was no point of denying the suspects bail when people who are accused of milking government billions of kwacha are out on multiple bails.
Phiri said police were at liberty to re-arrest Kamwambi and he went ahead to grant the trio bail.