Two former employees of the Higher Education Students Loans and Grants Board suspected of misappropriating the board’s K300 million have pleaded not guilty to charges of theft and money laundering.
The two, former loans manager Chimwemwe Kaphagawani and former communications manager Success Sikwese, on Tuesday appeared before Lilongwe chief resident magistrate Madalitso Chimwaza to be formally charged and take plea.
The suspects pleaded not guilty to both charges, but State prosecutor Cecilia Zangazanga told the court that the two charges were just holding charges as the State was still investigating the matter.
She said: “The State will make proper charges when it is done with investigations.”
Zangazanga, therefore, asked for further detention of the suspects to allow the State complete investigations. She asked for five more days to finalise investigations.
She said: “The State appreciates that the suspects have been in custody since June 29, but they appeared before the FGM [first grade magistrate] and were remanded. During that time we sought 10 days.
“We are remaining with five days that were sought so the State would like to have the five days to finalise investigations.”
Zangazanga also told the court that there are 303 university students who were supposed to benefit from the loans funds, but most of them were yet to be interviewed.
But lawyer for the suspects, William Chiwaya, objected to further detention of his clients and went ahead to make bail application.
He said the suspects cannot interfere with investigations as they are no longer working for the Loans Board.
Chiwaya said the court can also impose bail conditions for the suspects not to interfere with investigations.
The court has reserved its ruling on the bail application and further detention of the suspects to Friday.