The Blantyre Chief Resident Magistrate’s Court on Monday granted bail to judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula and reverend Daniel Mhone quashing ACB’s application to continue keeping the two in custody for it had not yet recorded a caution statement from them.
They have been granted bail on seven conditions including; to present themselves to ACB at 8 am on Tuesday for cautioning, pay K25 000 bail bond in cash each and bring one surety of K100 000 non cash each.
The court also ordered the two to surrender travel documents to ACB , present themselves to ACB once every fortnight until the conclusion of the case, to be present during trial and not to interfere with witnesses.
Mvula was arrested by ACB last Friday and spent two nights in custody at Blantyre police station while Mhone was arrested on Monday.
Chief Resident Magistrate Simeon Mdeza told the court that the two were brought before court to be informed on why the state wanted to continue keeping them in custody and to notify them of the charges laid against them.
Representing ACB, Macmillan Chakhala told the court they had not yet taken caution statements from the two accused persons because ACB was busy interviewing witnesses for the case.
However, defence lawyer Chancy Gondwe argued that the two, like any suspect, had a right to be released on bail as provided for in section 42 (2) of the republican constitution.
“When it comes to issues to do with the release of accused persons on bail it is a fundamental right. The state has not made sufficient presentation on why the accused persons should not be released on bail.
The fact that the state has failed to record a caution statement from the accused persons should not be a ground to deny them bail,” he stated, adding that pre-trial detention should not be used as punishment to the accused persons.
Mdeza then adjourned the case to a later date when the accused persons will be formerly charged and take plea. However, he said the court will await directions from ACB as to when it will be ready.
ACB through a press statement, dated September 1 and signed by its senior public relations officer Egrita Ndala, indicated that in 2016 and 2017, Mvula, had on several occasions demanded various sums of money amounting to K10.7 million from the United Methodist Church through Reverend Daniel Mhone, the Executive Church Member and Conference Superintendent.