A couple accused of stealing medical drugs and supplies from public hospitals worth millions of kwacha pleaded not guilty to the two charges levelled against them yesterday.
Ephraidu Upindi Malenga and Chris Upindi—who were dressed casually—were arrested on Tuesday during a dawn raid on their home in Lilongwe’s Mchesi Township with the drugs in question.
They appeared before Lilongwe senior resident magistrate Chisomo Msokera.
Representing the State, police prosecutor Steven Phiri told the court they needed the suspects to be remanded five more days to avoid tampering with the evidence at hand.
But lawyer for the defendants, Innocent Kubwalo, said the State, in its application, did not give enough reason or proof that the two, if granted bail, would interfere with the ongoing investigations.
In his bail application defence, Kubwalo told the court that the accused couple have three children and reside in Mchesi, where they can easily be traced.
The court is expected to decide on the application today.
Issues of drug theft have been rampant in government hospitals with the former minister of Health Jean Kalilani, now at Home Affairs and Internal Security, pushing the blame on district health officers (DHOs). However, the DHOs, during an interface meeting with the Health Committee of Parliament, blamed the situation on logistical hiccups in the procurement and supply chain.