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Bushiri ‘tricksters’ plead not guilty

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There people suspected of defrauding Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) leader Shepherd Bushiri of funds amounting to K4.2 million Monday appeared at the Lilongwe Senior Resident Magistrate Court, where they pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The three are Bingu National Stadium (BNS) Accounts Assistant Wongani Ng’oma, BNS Internal Auditor Edwin Kambalame and Youth Ministry Principal Accountant Thokozani Chanza.

When the three appeared before the court Monday, police prosecutor Cecilia Zangazanga told the court that the State was ready to start trial.

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But defence lawyers objected to that because, they argued, the State had not served them with the necessary documents or disclosures as per law.

The defence then made an application for bail, which the State objected to, saying the matter in court was a serious one.

Senior Resident Magistrate Florence Msekandiana deferred the ruling on the bail application to this morning.

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The three were arrested at the weekend for being suspected of misappropriating funds which Bushiri’s ECG paid as a down payment for advance booking of the stadium to host crossover prayers on December 31.

ECG on December 1 paid BNS K5 million and were issued with receipt number 6666233.

The alleged misappropriation came to light when BNS changed its tune and barred Bushiri and ECG from using the facility for the prayers, arguing that the event could lead to the destruction of some structures and the pitch.

And when ECG wrote BNS demanding a refund, stadium management was unable to do that as only K800,000 was deposited into Malawi Government’s Account Number 1.

ECG at the weekend said they had shifted the crossover prayers to Malawi Square, which is situated at the Bingu International Convention Centre.

This will be the second time for Malawi Square to host a big event this year after hosting President Lazarus Chakwera’s swearing-in ceremony on June 28.

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