Malawi Prison Service (MPS) has transferred two senior officials at Maula Prison in Lilongwe almost a week after four prisoners escaped from prison.
According to sources, officer-in-charge (OC) Senior Superintendent Kalilani Mwale has been transferred to Domasi Prison in Zomba while discipline officer (DO) Billy Kamphambale has been moved to Nkhotakota Prison.
However, Chief Commissioner of Prisons Little Mtengano said in an interview yesterday that the transfers were normal in the prison service and were not connected to the prison break.
“There is no connection. These transfers are normal and have been outstanding for some time,” he said.
In the early hours of July 11 2016, four inmates broke out of Maula Prison in what authorities described as “well-calculated operation aided by people outside the prison. Three of the inmates were on remand for bank robbery and one for murder.
Maula Prison spokesperson Donald Mkolongo, while confirming the transfer, could not divulge more information.
“Transfers are normal in the department and the two are not in any way connected to the four prisoners’ escape,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court yesterday granted bail to two Maula Prison warders, Jonathan Themba (29) and Steven Mwase (24) who were on duty during the prison break.
The two have been charged with permitting prisoners to escape against Section 116 of the Penal Code which states that any person who, having another person lawfully in his custody, intentionally or negligently permits that other person to escape shall be guilty of a misdemeanour.
The two denied the charge when they appeared in court yesterday and requested the court to grant them bail.
State prosecutor Moja Phiri said the State has four witnesses including one prisoner who will testify against the two.
Phiri asked the court to limit movement of the two and stop them from going to Maula Prison to prevent them from interfering with the witness who is serving at the prison.
In her ruling, chief resident magistrate Ruth Chinangwa granted bail to the two on condition that they report to police once a week and they will not visit Maula Prison. Furthermore, they can only leave Lilongwe upon getting police permission.
The case has since been adjourned to August 3 when the State is expected to bring its witnesses.
The four escapees—Chonde Saudi of Ngwengwe Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Kalonga in Salima District, Nix Dauda Bonongwe and James Daudi both of Bonongwe Village, T/A Chimwala in Mangochi and Edward Majawa of Kabudula Village, T/A Kabudula in Lilongwe—are still at large.