The Blantyre Magistrate’s Court has reserved to Tuesday, October 24 2017 its ruling on whether or not a former Blantyre Water Board (BWB) employee, Brian Makote, suspected to have defrauded the board money amounting to K128 million should be released on bail.
The former debt collector was arrested in Botswana by the International Police (Interpol) last month and extradited to Malawi last Friday.
He is facing charges of conspiracy, theft by public servant, forgery, uttering false documents and money laundering.
Makote and his colleague who used to work as a plumber Obina Liwonde are suspected to have siphoned the money using a parallel account they opened at Nedbank Malawi Limited Blantyre Branch.
The state told the court that the suspect was brought in the court to be told on why he is being kept under custody according to section 161 of the constitution.
His lawyer Chancy Gondwe then made a bail application arguing that just like any other suspected criminal who is presumed innocent until an honourable court proves otherwise, Makote deserves to be granted bail.
Gondwe also quashed assertions by the state indicating that his client fled to Botswana after noticing that the police were looking for him.
“He never fled, he went to Botswana to have a breather, after all how could he have fled to Botswana which he certainly knows has an extradition treaty with Malawi. And as a matter of fact he did not resist police arrest as he surrendered himself to Interpol,” said Gondwe.
Gondwe further said the court was at liberty to put tough conditions on the bail which include asking Makote to surrender all his travel documents if it fears so.
However, the state through Southern Region Prosecution Officer Christopher Katani maintained that Makoti is a flight risk arguing that he did not notify his office when he left for Botswana.
“Your worship, much as every suspected criminal has a right to be granted bail, we all know that the right is not absolute. This suspect here is a flight risk and to ensure a smooth trial he needs to remain under custody,” he argued.
Senior Resident Magistrate Viva Nyimba then adjourned the case to Tuesday at 2 PM for his ruling on the bail application arguing that the matter requires thoughtful ruling