Tricksters capitalise on Peter Mutharika parole order
The Malawi Prison Service (MPS) has said it has noted with great shock that there are some tricksters who are demanding money from relatives of prisoners to have their relatives considered for parole.
In order to decongest the country’s prisons due to Covid-19, President Peter Mutharika directed the Malawi Prison Services and juvenile centres to present a list of prisoners and juveniles who committed petty offences and those who have served a significant portion of their sentences for moderate crimes to the Minister of Homeland Security for processing of their release.
Speaking Sunday, the prison spokesperson, Chimwemwe Shaba, said though nobody has complained officially, they have gotten hold of audios of some tricksters.
Shaba said Malawians should be aware that the prison department has no mandate on its own to release inmates.
“It is only the President of the Republic of Malawi who is empowered by Republican Constitution to release inmates through the Advisory Committee on the Pardon. A pardon is entirely free of charge.
“It is a crime and punishable by the laws of Malawi for a person to demand money for the release of a convict. Anyone asking for money on the same should be immediately reported to the Malawi Police Services or Malawi Prisons Service,” he said.
He said they are still working on other means to make sure people are not under panic and security is enforced.
Asked on how soon the list of pardoned prisoners would be out Shaba said the Advisory Committee on the Pardon is at an advanced stage.
“The committee is tireslessly working on the same and we are told that it is an advanced stage. People may think we are taking time, we are not because we need to clearly scrutinise the people who should go out,” he said.
Reacting on the development Centre for Human Rights, Education, Advice and Assistance (Chreaa) Executive Director, Victor Mhango, said the prison department should do more in sensitising the public to always cross-check with the prison whenever they come across such tricksters.
Mhango, however, decried delay by the prison department to quickly release the list of prisoners to be considered for pardon arguing if the Covid-19 attacks the prisons it will be chaotic.
“We understand it is not easy to prepare the list because they need to scrutinise each and every person who is going out of the prison. But still more we are worried as CSOs looking at the number of those infected with the Covid-19 is still going up. We all know how our prisons are congested and if we wait a little longer it will be chaotic if we happen to have case in the prisons,” he said.
As of yesterday, Malawi recorded one more Covid-19 case bringing the total number to 13 with two deaths.