Senior Resident Magistrate Wanangwa Nyirenda Tuesday released on bail former Minister of Finance Joseph Mwanamvekha following his arrest on the same day by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
Mwanamvekha is alleged to have been involved in the suspected irregular procurement of uniforms and other equipment for the Malawi Prison Service (MPS).
This arrest comes eight months after he was also nabbed in relation to suspected forex misreporting to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM).
Conditions for bail in the latest incident include a K1 million cash bond, K10 million non-cash bond and reporting to the ACB every two weeks.
Lawyer representing ACB Moira Mlava said the bureau had brought the former minister to court to tell him why he had been detained and that investigations into the matter have been completed.
“We will soon be applying for consent from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute the case,” Mlava said.
ACB did not object to the bail application.
The bureau’s spokesperson Egrita Ndala said: “ACB conducted investigations which established that Joseph Mwanamvekha abused his office and neglected official duties by, among other things, disbursing $18,374,460 to the Ministry of Homeland Security justifying unlawful procurement of uniforms and equipment at Malawi Prison Service.”
The procurement in question relates to a contract between the Malawi Government and One Guard FZE of the United Arab Emirates.
Last month, ACB also arrested former Minister of Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi, former principal secretary (PS) in the ministry Samuel Madula and current PS Kennedy Nkhoma in connection with the same case.
During their respective times at the ministry, Madula was a PS while Nkhoma was a chief director.
ACB reportedly received an allegation in 2020 that the ministry suspiciously procured MPS uniforms and equipment without following procedures and at an exorbitant price.
Mwanamvekha, alongside two others, is also answering charges of abuse of office and false accounting for allegedly forcing officers at RBM to present cooked-up forex figures to the IMF between June 2018 and September 2019.
It is believed that the three did so to paint a false picture that Malawi had a healthy forex position when it was not the case.