Third Grade Magistrate Stanford Majoni, and nine other court and police officers, yesterday pleaded not guilty to all charges levelled against them in relation to theft of 84 bags of cannabis sativa (Chamba) at the Ntcheu Magistrate’s Court.
The ten appeared before Chief Resident Magistrate Ruth Chinangwa at the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court.
Apart from the Magistrate, other suspects are accounts assistants, security guards, court clerks and court marshals.
The courtroom, which was largely filled by relatives of the accused persons, silently followed the proceedings, as the ten took plea.
According to court records, all the suspects are answering charges of conspiracy. Nine of them are answering an extra charge of theft by public servant.
“Stanford Majoni, Andrew Phiri, Patrick Thomas, Stain Phiri, Ricky Nachiye, Fatsani Chilambula, Patrick Tembenu, Enerst Jamali, Chifundo Chitsulo and Amos Jobo on the 28th December or on or about 28 December, 2015 conspired together to steal 84 bags of Canabis sativa,” read the details of the first count.
According to the charge sheet, Jobo, who is a police officer, is not answering the second count.
“…on or about 28 December 2015 at Ntcheu Magistrate Court in the district of Ntcheu being person employed in the public service as magistrate, district court administrator, security guard, court clerk and court marshals, respectively, and having, by virtue of their employment, had under their control and custody 84 bags of cannabis sativa and were unable to produce the same or make due account thereof,” reads details of the second count.
After plea-taking, the accused persons immediately applied for bail which they were granted.
Among the conditions, the suspects are supposed to produce a surety each, with a bond of K10,000 (non-cash) and the suspects to pay a bond of K10,000 (cash).
They were also told not to leave Ntcheu without permission from Ntcheu Police.
Central Region Police Prosecutor, Levison Mangani, told the court that the State will parade seven witnesses. He, however, said the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) will take over the case once trial begins.
Lawyer Frank M’bwana is representing the accused persons.
The matter has been adjourned to January 18, 2015.
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