Malawi softens Muluzi's bail

2009-07-08 21:15

Blantyre - Malawi's high court on Wednesday softened the bail bond of graft-accused former president Bakili Muluzi, who needs to travel to Britain for a medical check-up, to $358 000.

Muluzi challenged a court order by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) forcing him to sign a $12m bond to ensure his return to face corruption charges.

"I find no objective reason that the accused person will abscond. I therefore order that he must execute a bail bond of the sum of 50 million kwacha, not cash," Judge Edward Twea said in his ruling.

"The accused person must not leave the jurisdiction of Malawi without the order of this court," Twea added.

The $12m represented the total sum of the monetary value of the graft charges levelled against Muluzi, who ruled the southern African nation from 1994 to 2004.

Muluzi is the most senior figure to face graft charges in a sweeping anti-corruption campaign launched by President Bingu wa Mutharika, his successor and estranged protege.

Muluzi must also execute two sufficient sureties in the sum of $7000 each and the ACB has also seized Muluzi's property, which includes 150 cars, an office complex and his upmarket residence.

Twea warned the ex-president that he would be "admitted to custody" should he fail to execute the bond "within seven days of this order".