The Blantyre Magistrate’s Court has acquitted four Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (Qech) employees who were accused of stealing the facility’s washing machine in August 2016.
On August 15 2016, The Daily Times reported that an officer at the hospital took the machine for repairing without the knowledge of hospital’s maintenance department.
However, in his ruling delivered on July 15 2019, Principal Resident Magistrate Viva Nyimba found the four – Francis Gwiranani, Yohane Kankhuni, Phillip Malitano and Gerald Maundewere – with no case to answer.
“The court is, therefore, of the opinion that no prima facie case is made out against the accused sufficiently to require them to make a defence and pursuant to Section 254(1) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code, the accused are, therefore, acquitted of the offence of theft by servant.
“Considering the fatality of the evidence, it is clear the accused were alleged to have committed the offence on mere suspicion that a similar washing machine was seen by an overarching security guard who saw a motor vehicle lorry carrying a washing machine without identifying the motor vehicle registration number and the people that were in the vehicle coming from the direction of the road along Kachere Rehabilitation Centre/ Youth Centre,” reads part of the ruling.
Qech is the country’s major referral hospital which houses important medical equipment.