Some Police officers in the country are pocketing up to MK120 thousand a month collected from suspects who are paying for what is supposed to be free police bail, Malawi24 can reveal.
Unscrupulous officers involved in the racket have devised ways to evade top officials by insisting that suspects pay them cash at police stations.
Records show that many of the cases are not taken to court after the suspects pay the bail.
However, those who pay are later coerced to forfeit the money.
Citing the issue to this publication, one Police officer who opted for anonymity, said most police officers who demand money usually threaten the suspects with a number of years one would get in relation to the offence committed.
Malawi24 has also established that several Police Stations use cash bail books that are forget and not of Malawi government.
Most police Officers have acquired a parallel set of cash bail receipt books which they use to siphon money from suspects.
This is the reason why Police do not serve suspects with documents like the notice to attend Court, Notice of Intended Prosecution, or even papers to compel court attendance.
Besides this, there have been allegations that in some cases, police enhance the offence to more serious ones with the aim of making the suspects pay higher bail, which they later forfeit and the charges are dropped.
In one instance that has just happened in Blantyre at Nathoka Police Unit and Malawi24 is keenly following, Police are threatening two boys to face rearrest if they don’t settle a balance of Mk5000 thousand they owe.
The boys (name withheld for security reasons) were arrested on 31st November 2015 for buying a stolen digital camera which they later sold to a pastor.
They were released on bail at 12 midnight upon paying a sum of Mk16000 for bail which they were not given the receipt.
Police at the Unit told them to settle the remaining balance before a day so that they can easily share the money.
In an interview with this reporter, they described life being hell in the cell.
In their remarks they said Police brutally roughed them up with a slasher. And in the process of beating, one of the boys lost the lower lip of his mouth.
“We are leaving in fear, these Police are threatening to take us back to the cell if we dont settle them a balance of Mk5000. They said they want to share the money among them equally. They said if we don’t pay them where will they eat, ( tikalephela kulipila iwo akadyela kuti)?” They said.
Some of the names of the Security Officers at Nathoka Police Unit in Machinjiri, Blantyre involved in these dirty activities include Mr Kondwani and Mr Navitcha.
Initial findings by Malawi24 revealed that in some cases, corrupt officers insist that suspects pay cash for bail even for offences for which bail is unnecessary.
Those who pay the bail either lose the money or are only refunded a fraction of it in exchange for being spared a court appearance.
National Police Spokesperson when contacted by Malawi24 on Thursday for a comment pointed out that Police bail is free and no suspect is supposed to pay.
Part of bail paper work is written ” to be released on bail of such amount ( Not Paid), meaning its free.
“No any Police top authorities condone such behaviors, be the Inspector General himself is against this. If Police are demanding money from suspects to be given bail its very unfortunate and that’s total corruption.”
“As with Nathoka Police they should be reported to their Authorities at Limbe or Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) so that they can be questioned. Its unprofessional and corruption,”stated Gondwa.
The Malawi Police Service (MPS) is a Malawi Government organ under Ministry of Internal Affairs and Public Security.
Its operations are provided for under the laws of Malawi, notably in the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi and the Malawi Police Service Act (MPS Act).
It’s mandate are to Prevent, investigate and detection of crime, apprehension and prosecution of offenders and maintenance of law and order. Its Vision is to “create a safe and secure Malawi.”