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Indians remanded at Maula prison

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By Wezzie Gausi:

The Lilongwe Senior Resident Magistrates’ Court has remanded to prison 67 Indian nationals who were allegedly working at Salima Sugar Factory without permits. The Indians are currently being hosted at Maula Prison.

Senior Resident Magistrate Shyreen Yona is expected to make her ruling on Monday on whether the 67 should be granted bail and on how the case must progress in relation to the State’s prayer that they should be deported.

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According to Immigration Prosecutor Binwell Kachingwe, the case is straightforward as the said Indians were in the country without proper documents; hence they have to be sent back to their home country.

Kachingwe said the documents they received from Salima Sugar Company concerning the people are not valid and that the country can no longer host them.

“The State’s position is for these people to be deported to their country and there are no two ways about that. And since the judgement has been slated for Monday, we are hoping that all will go in our favour,” Kachingwe said.

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Defense Lawyer Joseph Chiume said it is unfortunate that the Indians have been arrested when it is the government that brought them into the country.

Chiume said the government is the one that negotiated with the Indian government to charter a plane for them to come into the country such that the same government cannot turn around and demand that they should be deported.

“We are very surprised that the same government that brought these Indians to Malawi together with some Malawians that were stranded in India is now changing its stand and says these people are in the country illegally.

“Government is the one that arranged their documents and entry into the country for them to work for nine months. Now to say these people are illegal immigrants is very unfortunate,” Chiume said.

The defence has made two applications before the court: that the Indians should be granted bail and that they should remain in the country.

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