Former board chairperson of Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) Jean Mathanga and three others yesterday walked to freedom after being granted bail by the Blantyre Magistrate Court.
Mathanga, a Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) commissioner, was arrested in Blantyre on Thursday by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in connection to a K4 billion corruption probe at the power utility.
The other three, who were the first to be arrested on Wednesday, included former Escom chief executive officer (CEO) John Kandulu, former director of procurement Fanuel Nkhono and senior procurement manager Emmilius Kandapo.
Mathanga was charged with two offences of giving false information contrary to Section 14 (10)(a) of the Corrupt Practices Act (CPA) and neglect of official duty contrary to Section 121 of the Penal Code.
Mathanga is accused of giving false information to ACB on April 18 2017 during investigations into misprocurement of goods around K4 billion.
She is said to have told ACB that she got authorisation from the Director of Public Procurement through one of its senior officials Edward Jeke to pay various suppliers of goods who had supplied goods to Escom without following procurement procedures.
She is also accused of willfully neglecting to perform her duty bound by the Public Finance Management Act and Public Procurement Act by authorising payment of goods supplied to Escom by various suppliers totaling K1.4 billion without following procurement procedures when she was board chairperson around 2015/16.
Mathanga was also charged with two offences of neglect of official duty contrary to Section officers performing functions corruptly contrary to Section 25A (2) of the CPA. 121 of the Penal Code and public
On the other hand, Nkhono and Kandapo were each charged with one offence of abuse of office contrary to Section 25B(1) of the Corrupt Practices Act.
On his part, Kandulu is among others, alleged to have used his influence as CEO on former director of finance Betty Mahuka to perform her duties and discharge her functions corruptly by making payments amounting to K4 billion to various suppliers without following procurement procedures.
Granting bail, senior resident magistrate Emmelia Chidule ordered Mathanga to pay K2 million cash bond and K4 million non-cash bond for her two sureties while Kandulu, Nkhono and Kandapo were each asked to pay K1.5 million cash bond and K3 million non cash bond.
Mathanga and Kandulu were further ordered to be reporting to ACB offices in Lilongwe on Wednesday once a fortnight while Nkhono and Kandapo will be reporting to ACB Blantyre offices.
The court also instructed all the four to surrender their travel documents to ACB and not to intimidate or interfere with potential witnesses in the matter.