Chilima aides ill, given bail

The Malawi Police Service (MPS) yesterday granted bail to Vice-President Saulos Chilima’s aides after spending a night in hospital under police guard, National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera says.

Police arrested the two, Kushi Unyolo and Joshua Valera, on Sunday afternoon for “acting suspiciously” at the launch of Chiwanja Cha Yao in Balaka where President Peter Mutharika was in attendance.

Kadadzera: They need medical attention

Kadadzera said in an interview yesterday that police gave the two suspects bail because they had fallen ill and the law enforcers wanted to allow them to seek medical attention.

He said: “We have given them bail because they are sick. They needed necessary medical attention accompanied by their relatives. They did not spend a night in a police cell but they were at the hospital.

“The other reason apart from that is that we wanted to have time to put ourselves together. We will go to court at our appropriate time.”

But University of Malawi’s Chancellor College-based law lecturer Mwiza Nkhata faulted police for arresting the two without conducting investigations, saying it is not proper in criminal procedure.

While describing the bail given to the suspects as legitimate, Nkhata argued that police should not have arrested the two, who were delegated to the function by Chilima, before conducting proper investigations.

He said: “The starting point is that we have to acknowledge that bail in Malawi is a constitutional right. You can be given bail by the police if the offence is minor, but if it is serious, the offender may be taken to court.

“One condition under the course of law is the interest of justice. So, it could be the condition under which they were given bail, and that is a legitimate consideration.”

Chilima, who is also UTM Party torchbearer in the May 21 Tripartite Elections, delegated Valera and Unyolo to deliver a gift at the Yao cultural grouping ceremony to which he had been invited, but failed to go due to a funeral, but the two were arrested and detained at Balaka Police Station.

The Vice-President stormed the station, where he spent about four hours, to find out why his aides got arrested.

UTM Party director of communications Joseph Chidanti Malunga in a brief interview yesterday said the party is consulting its lawyers on how to proceed on the matter.

Chiwanja cha Ayawo spokesperson McDonald Sembereka is on record as having said Valera and Unyolo were not seen acting suspiciously at the function as police alleged.

Valera and Unyolo spent Sunday night at Balaka District Hospital where they were receiving treatment for high blood pressure until yesterday.

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