The Chikwawa Second Grade Magistrate Court on Tuesday granted bail to two Chikwawa District Hospital officers for allegedly being involved in the scam of 28 hospital mattresses last week.

However, during the court proceedings, Southern Region Police Prosecutor, Senior Superintendent, Christopher Katani, told the court that there was no need for the court to grant the two suspects bail saying they may obstruct justice once released.

“I pray to the court not to consider granting the accused bail because they would tamper with evidence. Moreover, releasing the two on bail could likely compromise on their safety as members of the community are not happy with them,” pleaded Katani.

He added that the state was also not ready to bring its witnesses on the matter and asked for additional eight days to continue its investigations.

On the other hand, defence lawyer representing the two, Nickson Masiku of Russell Smith and Associates argued that there were no reasonable grounds to deny the suspects bail as the state failed to satisfy the court and that the eight days which the state asked for to continue its investigations was just too much.

“I thought for the case to come to court the state had investigated the matter. Why should they ask for additional eight days to probe more on the same?” queried Masiku who emphasized that the accused persons had a constitutional right to bail.

After a five minute adjournment, the Second Grade Magistrate, Joram Zebron, granted the two suspects conditional bail stipulating that each suspect pays K60, 000 and a surety of non-cash bond of K80, 000.

The two are also supposed to appear at Chikwawa Police Station every Saturday at 09:00 am. They are also not supposed to leave Chikwawa without being granted permission from the police.

The two suspects, Mosses Jere, 36, and Clement Kapesi, 47, are answering charges of theft by public servant where 28 mattresses valued at over MK1.5 million were stolen from Chikwawa District Hospital.

The mattresses were later seized from various homes of some members of staff from the district health office. Both suspects have denied the charges and the case has been adjourned to December 13, 2017.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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