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High Court frees bogus doctor

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The High Court in Blantyre has freed a bogus doctor who was convicted for impersonating a public officer at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) last year.

Wongani Akuzike Kandulu was released on March 7, 2016 by an order that was issued and signed by High Court Judge Justice Michael Tembo under Criminal Review Case Number 02 of 2016.

Kandulu has been freed by the High Court when another convict John Kamanga, who was found masquerading as a doctor, is still languishing at Chichiri Prison after he was found guilty and was sentenced to six years imprisonment with hard labour on similar offences in January 2015.

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Blantyre Magistrate’s Court Principal Resident Magistrate Innocent Nebi on February 4, 2015 sentenced Kandulu to six years imprisonment with hard labour and ordered him to pay a fine of K30,000 for treating patients at the referral hospital when he was not a trained doctor.

“Upon review of the propriety of the conviction and sentencing, the court has quashed the conviction and set aside the sentence; whereas this court has made an order of the release of the said Wongani Akuzike Kandulu from prison; this order requires you to release the said Wongani Akuzike Kandulu from your custody, forthwith, unless he is held for any other lawful reason,” reads the order.

Highly placed sources in the Malawi Police Service told The Daily Times that the law enforcers heeded the order and released Kandulu immediately from Chichiri Prison and is now a free citizen.

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Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula confirmed Kandulu’s release in an interview and said this happened after Kandulu was dissatisfied with the ruling and appealed the case at the High Court.

“Any person has the right to appeal if [they are] not satisfied with the ruling of any subordinate court. Kandulu appealed against his conviction and the High Court’s decision is binding in the lower court. What this means is that the Judgment that Justice

Tembo delivers binds the subordinate court and that the issue is now in the High Court and not the lower court,” said Mvula.

Kandulu was arrested in October 2014 at QECH posing as a medical doctor and according to the hospitals’ security officers, he was first seen in February and was always among college of Medicine students.

Before sentencing him last year, Nebi among others highlighted that it is sad that people like Kandulu decide to put lives of patients at stake for their own benefit.

“Patients are vulnerable people and they have hope when they meet doctors and nurses. They would be in shock to hear that they have been assisted by a fake doctor,” he said.

Nebi also noted that QECH is a government referral hospital which means many people referred there are from surrounding districts and are mostly illiterate and poor.

“A good number of people who go there are poor and illiterate. Some can’t even distinguish a cleaner and a doctor and it is such people who are abused by people like the convict,” he said.

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