Cashgate suspect and former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo will stay in police custody a little longer after Lilongwe senior resident magistrate Paul Chiotcha yesterday said the decision on the accused’s bail was no longer his.
Explaining his decision, the magistrate said he had received a letter from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) asking the lower court to commit Mphwiyo’s matter to the High Court.
Said Chiotcha: “With this letter at hand, I do not have the jurisdiction to deal with this matter any longer, which is to grant the accused [clearance] to travel for medical attention or give him bail.
“I took an oath to be faithful to the law and not to do anything to the contrary. I am here to commit this person to the High Court and, therefore, cannot make a ruling on matters that I do not have a jurisdiction on. I, therefore, order that the defence make an application to commit the case to the High Court forthwith.”
Mphwiyo’s lawyer, Shadreck Mhango, told the court that his client needed urgent medical attention and had already missed his doctors’ appointment scheduled for last Sunday, a day after his arrest.
According to Mhango, Mphwiyo’s condition was deteriorating and needed urgent medical attention to which the State, represented by Pilirani Bangula, responded: “My lordship, the defence [counsel] is a lawyer and not medical personnel. He [the lawyer] is also saying his client needs to see a doctor, but he has not provided us with documents supporting the claims.”
Mphwiyo, who was charged on Tuesday of theft and money laundering of about K2.1 billion (US$4 525 862.1), is yet to take plea. His wife, Thandizo, was granted bail on Tuesday after being charged with forgery and money laundering.
Mphwiyo, whose shooting on the night of September 13 2013 at the gate of his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe exposed the free-for-all plunder of public resources, was arrested on Saturday alongside his wife.