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New evidence in Paul Mphwiyo’s case

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The Fiscal and Fraud Unit of the Malawi Police Service has stumbled on new evidence which the State would like to pursue while former budget director Paul Mphwiyo is behind bars.

Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Deputy Director, Reyneck Matemba, said in an interview that following the State’s application Mphwiyo should remain in custody for two weeks at most.

“What I can disclose is that on Tuesday afternoon, we had come across leads which need further investigation in relation to Mr Mphwiyo. We strongly believe that if he is released, chances are high that it might prejudice our investigations.

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“The Fiscal and Fraud Unit of the police is the one that is conducting the investigations and we believe that two weeks being the maximum period is fine. However, if the investigations are concluded before the period elapses, we will have to tell his lawyer that the bail can be granted,” said Matemba.

Mphwiyo was arrested last Saturday in connection with the alleged theft of at least K2.4 billion from government. He since his arrest been on remand.

His co-accused, whose arrests were spread between Sunday and Tuesday this week, have already been granted bail.

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On Wednesday, the State—let by Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mary Kachale—objected to Mphwiyo’s bail application and applied that hearing on the matter should be made yesterday.

When the Lilongwe High Court met in the chambers of Judge Esmie Chombo in Lilongwe yesterday, the State reportedly applied that it should be given a maximum of 14 days before Mphwiyo could be granted bail.

However, reports that reached The Daily Times yesterday evening—around 6pm—indicated that the ruling had not yet been presented to the parties.

Matemba, however, said the fact that the State had not yet received communication from the court regarding the ruling, did not conclusively mean the day would pass without the ruling.

“Even if they call us now, we can go because the court can sit at any time. Otherwise, by close of business today [yesterday], we had not yet received any communication on the matter,” said Matemba.

The ACB senior official could not divulge the details of the State’s objection of Mphwiyo’s bail application.

Just like Kachale, Matemba stressed that the State does not want Mphwiyo to remain in custody simply to victimise him, but “because there are issues which must be cleared first.”

“Otherwise, we had not initially planned to object to his bail application. As you understand, his co-accused were granted bail without any objection,” said Matemba.

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