Businessperson Martin Mainja and two other suspects have been denied bail as the state continues to investigate the suspects’ role in defrauding Government of K97 million.
The other suspects are Dominic Chimaliro and Rashid Mtelera who is Administration Officer in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC).
Prosecutors wanted the three to be remanded for 14 days as their case is being investigated but the suspects asked to be released on bail.
Chief Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa, however, has ruled that the suspects should be remanded to Maula prison for nine saying the nature of the crime requires enough time to investigate.
The three suspects were named in the National Audit Office (NAO) report on usage of K6.2 billion Ccovid-19 funds.
According to the report, OPC handpicked Pest Chem 1B owned by Mainja to fumigate 26 buildings at Capital Hill, Kamuzu Palace and City Centre in July last year.
This was done even though there was no need to contract a private disinfector considering that Lilongwe District Health Office already has capacity to fumigate the buildings and could carried out the works for K1.5 million.
“It is also worth noting that the materials for disinfection by Pest Chem 1B were provided by Government, a situation that did not justify the use of the private disinfector at that high cost,” reads part of the report.
The NAO report has led to the arrests of 46 people including senior officials from the Immigration Department and Chief Executive Office of Zomba City Council.