Former minister of Information Henry Mussa and former director of Information Gideon Munthali will spend seven days at Maula Prison after the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court denied them bail yesterday.
The two, who are suspected to have stolen 10 computers and three stand-by power generators when they worked for the Ministry of Information, have been charged with theft by public servant and abuse of office.
They appeared before principal resident magistrate Viva Nyimba after their lawyers applied for bail, but the magistrate denied the suspects bail, saying the State needed time to recover the stolen items.
He said the State had only recovered one computer and a genset; hence, releasing the two would affect recovery of other items.
Said Nyimba: “There is fear that they may conceal the items to be recovered.”
He, therefore, gave the State seven days to conclude the recoveries.
The State had applied for 14 days to make the recoveries and finalise investigations, but Nyimba observed that the two weeks the State asked for was too much.
The magistrate adjourned the case to September 21 when the court will grant bail.
The accused’s lawyers, Powell Nkhutabasa and Chispin Mndala, had applied for bail on grounds that the suspects have the right to bail, will not interfere with witnesses, have permanent places of abode, will honour trial and that the case can continue with the suspects on bail.
In an interview after the case, Nkhutabasa said they will have to wait for the expiry of seven days to have the suspects granted bail.
National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said the suspected stolen equipment was a donation from Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority and is suspected to have gone missing in 2019.
He said: “It’s only the two who have been arrested. They are suspected to have had a hand in the missing of the computers and gensets.”
The arrests come barely a week after Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members of Parliament (MPs) tried to block the appointment of Inspector General of Police George Kainja on allegations that he was engaging in selective justice.
The MPs claimed he was only hunting DPP officials in his fight against crime, adding some ministers in the current government and other senior officials are being shielded despite their alleged involvement in criminal activities.