The Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court yesterday denied bail to businessperson Esnart Ndovi following her conviction on her own plea of guilty over a Cashgate transaction amounting to K12.9 million ($23,035).
The court convicted Ndovi on charges of money laundering which attracts a maximum sentence of 10 years and lending a business certificate for personification which attracts a sentence of three years.
Senior resident magistrate Patrick Chirwa said defence lawyer Gilbert Khonyongwa did not provide to the court evidence to show that Ndovi was suffering a medical ailment which would prevent her from withstanding prison conditions.
Said the magistrate: “The convict looks okay, she is able to stand and respond to questions. Unless the defence brought evidence from a certified medical practitioner to show that she cannot stay in prison.”
The magistrate also quashed Khonyongwa’s assertion that courts have previously granted bail to Cashgate accused persons such as Caroline Savala and Tressa Senzani, saying there was no legal backing to grant bail to a convict pending sentencing.
He said Section 42 of the Constitution, which Khonyongwa cited, giving an individual a right to bail only applied to accused persons not convicted persons.
Said the magistrate: “After being convicted, one loses the right to bail and there is no clear law propagating for bail pending sentencing. Therefore, I deny to grant bail pending sentencing. Until court sentences the convict, the convict will remain in custody.”
The revocation of Ndovi’s bail came even after Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) lawyer Imran Saidi did not object to the bail application.
Throughout the ruling on the bail application, Ndovi remained calm and collected with no visible hysterics
Meanwhile, the court has asked the ACB to agree with the defence to carry out a joint evaluation of the vehicle which has been handed over to ACB as restitution.
Road Traffic and Safety Services valued the vehicle at K15 million ($26,786). n