Ben Phiri freed: Court grants Malawi opposition politician bail

…Opposition, Activists accuse government of tramped up charges to silence dissidents’ views

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A court in Lilongwe has granted bail to Malawi opposition politician Ben Phiri.

Phiri, who is Member of Parliament for Thyolo Central and is also a member of the Democratic Progressive Party has been ordered to pay a MK10 million cash bond and produce two people as surety at MK5 million.  He has also been told to surrender all his traveling documents and report to police after every two weeks

The former Minister of Local Government was arrested on Thursday last week as the registered owner of Beata Investments. According to Police, Phiri collected K262 million from Ministry of Gender between 2018 and 2020 the pretext that he supplied Early Childhood Development learning materials, but never supplied the materials. without supplying.

On Thursday, he was taken to hospital after falling ill while in police custody.

State prosecutors told Senior Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa that Phiri should spend seven more days in police custody to allow the state to finalise investigations.

But lawyer for Phiri Mauya Msuku said the state should have arrested Phiri after completing its investigations. Msuku also noted that Phiri has already been in police custody for six days.

In His ruling, Chirwa said Phiri should be released on bail.

Phiri’s arrested last week came after Police also DPP Parliamentarian for Chiradzulu South Joseph Mwanamvekha and DPP senior member Dalitso Kabambe for presenting false economic figures while working as Minister of Finance and Reserve Bank Governor respectively.

Over the weekend, former President Peter Mutharika who is also DPP president accused the Tonse Alliance Government of arresting the three for speaking out against the high cost of living in the country.

The DPP in a statement last week said the arrests were politically motivated.

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