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Gate fraud suspects granted bail

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Blantyre Senior Resident Magistrate Akya Mwanyongo Monday granted bail to six gate fraud suspects.

The suspects were arrested for allegedly stealing about K437,000 during the TNM Super League match between Mighty Wanderers and Sable Farming on April 16 at Kamuzu Stadium.

Four gate cashiers were arrested on the same day soon after the match whereas two directors for Unity Gate Management were detained the following day.

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The suspects must pay K50,000 bail bond each and also provide a surety of K500,000 but must be a Malawian resident.

The accused are also required to report to Soche Police every fortnight on Mondays and must surrender their travelling documents.

Mwanyongo said granting the six theft suspects bail was in the spirit of fair trial.

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“The accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty by the court and keeping them in custody would mean pre-trial punishment.

“The court has also considered a number of factors including whether the accused persons would be available or present during trial every time the court needs them. This court is therefore granting them bail,” Mwanyongo said.

Defence lawyer Ian Kumpita said he was happy with the ruling on the matter.

“We applied for the bail last week basing on rights of the accused, who also had cooperated well with the police during the search and their detention in police custody.

“Today we also asked for the case adjournment because the State was yet to furnish us with the case disclosures; so, we didn’t want to be taken unawares,” Kumpita said.

Reacting to the development, State Prosecutor Francis Malenga respected the court’s decision.

“We failed to furnish the defence with disclosures because we noticed some gaps within part of the evidence in our possession. So we had to redo the statements with the police and we will hand over all the documents to the defence team. We should be able to parade all our five witnesses when the case is back in court,” Malenga said.

The case has been adjourned to May 13.

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