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Mixed fortunes for Norman chisale

Freed, re-arrested on court premises

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SEEKING DIVINE INTERVENTION?—Chisale perusing his Bible at the court

There was drama at the Lilongwe Magistrate Court Friday when Police re-arrested Norman Chisale, a security aide to former president Peter Mutharika, moments after he had made bail in a different case.

Having spent about three days in police custody following his initial arrest on Tuesday on fraud and money laundering charges, Chisale had been looking forward to hearing his bail verdict when he showed up at the court in the morning.

Chief Resident Magistrate Violet Chipao went ahead to give Chisale bail and just after completing payment of his K10 million cash bond and producing two sureties; his elder brother John Paulosi Chisale and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) secretary general Greselda Jeffrey for K50 million each as non- cash bond, the court was told by prosecutors that Chisale will be taken back in custody for another charge of attempted murder.

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Police prosecutors, Mwabi Kalua and Charles Panyani informed the court that the grounds of Chisale’s re – arrest were in relation to an incident that happened at Chimwankhunda in Blantyre in May this year where he shot a woman on the leg while in hot pursuit of some people,

to which Chisale said he was defending himself as they had allegedly attacked him.

The move by the prosecutors did not go down well with Chisale, his family and other DPP officials, who accused the police of what they called unfair treatment.

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Chisale reacted with emotions in court, asking the police if he could be given some days to rest before being re – arrested.

“I know you just want to punish me, I have already spent four days in cell…It’s too much. I am a person too and I feel pain, my arrest is just political, you never know the same government would employ me in future,” Chisale lamented.

After the state presented the second file on the attempted murder charge to the court, Chief Resident Magistrate Chipao said she could not comment because the matter introduced was different from the one before her.

Chisale, wearing a dark blue suit, white shirt and black shoes, briefly tussled with law enforcers as he refused to be taken into custody.

He had arrived at the court premises at exactly 10 o’clock in the morning aboard a police vehicle, while holding a Chichewa version of the Holy Bible, which he carried throughout the court session.

When granting bail on the fraud and money laundering charges, Chipao ordered Chisale to give a K10 million cash bond, provide two non-cash sureties of 50 million Kwacha each, surrender his passport and appear at Police Headquarters in Area 30 on Tuesdays every fortnight.

Speaking in the aftermath, Chisale’s lawyer Chancy Gondwe said he was happy that his client was given bail despite being re-arrested on what he described as a dead case.

“As you are aware, we made an application for the release of our client… the court has granted the accused person bail on some conditions which have been fulfilled but the re-arrest of my client is based on a dead case because the victim in question, orally withdrew the complaint and on Thursday, the victim swore an affidavit withdrawing that complaint,” he said.

According to Gondwe, the victim came to the court to inform it that she was withdrawing the case.

“The shooting was accidental…nothing like attempted murder, they were attackers on the accused person on that particular day and in trying to defend himself the bullet ended up on the knee of the victim,” Gondwe said.

Chisale was arrested on Tuesday for his alleged involvement in the importation of 1.2 million bags of cement worth over K5 billion from Zambia and Zimbabwe, using Mutharika’s Taxpayer Identification Number (TPIN) and duty free status.

The 60,000 tonnes of cement, which Chisale is accused of importing through Prestige Import and Export owner Mahmed Shafee Ahmed Chunara, is equivalent to 2,000 thirty-tonner articulated trucks carrying a maximum of 600 cement bags each.

The consignment was imported into the country in three batches, each weighing 20,000 tonnes.

Each consignment was valued at $2.240 million, bringing the total cost of the three consignments to $6.720 million (about K5.040 billion).

The first clearance was made on November 28, 2018 while the second clearance was given on July 1, 2019. The third clearance was issued on December 16, 2019.

All the clearances were signed for by Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) Deputy Commissioner, Technical – Customs and Excise, Abigail Kawamba.

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