The High Court in Lilongwe on Monday finally granted bail to former budget director in the Ministry of Finance Paul Mphwiyo after spending nine nights in custody.
But the suspect remained in custody after the State objected to one of his bail bonds, a house that apparently belongs to his mother-in- law, a Mrs Safuli.
In an interview yesterday after getting hold of High Court Judge Esmie Chombo’s bail ruling, Deputy Director General (DDG) of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Reyneck Matemba, said essentially, the State was of the view that the ruling was fair.
This was, however, before the bonds and sureties had been examined.
When The Daily Times followed the case up Monday evening, Matemba said the State had no objection to Mphwiyo’s two sureties bonded K2 million each non-cash.
“We examined the sureties and found that they are satisfactory.
However, according to Mr Mphwiyo’s lawyer [Shadreck Mhango], the house that has been attached to bail belongs to his client’s mother-in-law.
“Now we had problems with that because the ruling indicated that Mr Mphwiyo should attach his own house to his bail. So, we asked the court registrar to inquire from the Judge, who was out attending a meeting, if it was possible for this bail condition to be varied.
“When we returned in the afternoon, we were informed that the Judge had agreed to that. However, we have issues to do with verification of the house. The owner of the house has to give consent and we also have to examine documents to verify that she indeed owns the house,” said Matemba.
He added that Mphwiyo’s Area 43 house remains attached to his previous bail such that
“it has nothing to do with the current bail.”
Mhango confirmed that his client had provided the two sureties and a house as part of his bail conditions.
On the other hand, Matemba downplayed sentiments that the ruling that Mphwiyo should be released on bail might impact negatively on the investigations, going by the State’s earlier argument.
“It was last week Tuesday when we had indicated to the court that we were not willing to see Mr Paul Mphwiyo going out on bail until we finished our investigations. This is Monday, six days down the line. As the State we had not folded our arms. We were proceeding with the investigations because when you make an application, it can either be held or rejected,” said Matemba.
Mphwiyo was arrested on November 7 on amended charges relating to the stealing of at least K2.4 billion from government coffers.
His co-accused, who include former Accountant General David Kandoje, were granted bail on Wednesday last week.
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