The Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court yesterday granted bail to Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) chief executive officer Collins Magalasi and three others charged with fraud and money laundering.
Magalasi was arrested alongside two other Mera officials—Patrick Maulidi and Bright Mbewe—and businessperson Dorothy Shonga.
The four were granted bail by the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court yesterday on condition that they each pay a K500 000 bond and produce two non-cash sureties of K5 million.
They are also required to surrender their travel documents and to report to police once every fortnight. They are also required not to leave the Central Region without alerting the court and not interfere with witnesses.
One of the lawyers in the case, Powell Nkhutabasa, said the suspects complied with bail conditions.
He said: “They have paid the money, surrendered travel documents and they have also produced the sureties.”
The suspects are expected to appear in court on August 16 to take plea, during which the court will also give direction on how the case should proceed, depending on how prepared the State is.
The four are accused of having conducted a fraudulent transaction amounting to K107 million.
On money laundering, the suspects are alleged to have made attempts to conceal proceeds of crime generated from the fraud, while their third count is entering a procurement contract with an employee contrary to the Public Finance Management Act.
They got bail after spending a week in custody.
Meanwhile, the 13 police officers accused of murdering Buleya Lule while in police custody last year have finally been released after spending five days in prison since their bail was granted.
The 13 were granted bail on Friday by the High Court in Lilongwe but they could not leave prison as the court had not assessed their sureties.
The court accepted sureties for the police officers on Monday but the suspects could still not walk home as the court had not finished authenticating their bail bonds, a process which took the whole day on Tuesday.
One of the lawyers in the case, Lughano Mwabutwa confirmed that the suspects spent another night in prison on Tuesday as authorities at the prison needed more time to record details of their release.
He said: “There were so many processes involved. After signing of the bail bonds, we needed to serve the documents to the regional police office, Directorate of Public Prosecution, Police Headquarters and the Prison.
“Because the documents are many, the officials at the prison said it would take them time to record.”
Directorate of Public Prosecutions spokesperson Pilirani Masanjala said the State is ready to prosecute the case, having worked on all necessary processes.
He said: “We are just waiting for the court to give us a date, otherwise everything is set and ready.”