The Blantyre Magistrate’s Court has issued an arrest warrant for Pakistani businessperson Muhammad Jawad following his failure to respect the court’s demands in criminal proceedings.
Jawad is expected to appear before the court to testify in his money laundering case, but he has reportedly not been going to court for the proceedings.
Both Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula and public prosecutor Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda confirmed the issuance of the arrest.
“The warrant of arrest is now with the Malawi Police Service who are supposed to execute it. Currently, the police are hunting for him because they say they cannot trace him,” said Nyirenda, who is lawyer for the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM).
On his part, Mvula said the court issued the warrant after Jawad became elusive each time he was summoned to appear before it.
“Natural justice demands that both sides should present their side of the story. The State paraded its witnesses so what is remaining is for the accused to give his evidence, but he has been elusive,” he said.
In August 2015, Jawad was found in possession of $269 970 (about K197 million) concealed in his travelling bag as he was about to fly to Dubai through Chileka International Airport in Blantyre.
The court charged him with three counts of illegal possession of foreign currency, attempting to transfer foreign currency and money laundering.
But according to court documents, he pleaded guilty to the first two charges and not guilty to the money laundering charge.
“So, he was supposed to appear before the court to defend himself on the money laundering charge which he is running away from,” said Nyirenda.
He also said Jawad’s bail has been revoked and once arrested, he will be appearing in court from prison.
But Jawad’s lawyer, Wanangwa Hara, while saying he was not aware of the warrant of arrest, said his client was available and “eager to proceed with trial and close the case as justice requires.”
He said presiding magistrate Edna Bodole declined to transfer the matter to another resident magistrate (after being appointed assistant registrar of the High Court) and on the date of ruling for transfer of the matter they could not get hold of Jawad, forcing the court to revoke his bail.
“Meanwhile, we have requested the court for a typed and sealed copy of the ruling on transfer and revoking bail for our action and we await the same,” Hara said. n