Blantyre Magistrate’s Court order to return a passport and foreign currency amounting to $4 800 (about K4.9 million) seized from a foreign national.
The Blantyre Principal Resident Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday discharged Sir-Faraz Ahmed Hashmi, a dual citizen of the United States of America and Canada, after the State failed to show up in a case he stood accused of illegal possession of foreign currency and an attempt to transfer foreign currency out of Malawi.
Hashmi, who has been stuck in the country since his arrest on November 1 2022 at Muloza Border Post in Mulanje, went to Fiscal Police in Blantyre yesterday with the discharge order and a letter from his lawyer Henry Phoya, SC, instructing them to return what was seized from him.
In an interview yesterday, South West Region Police spokesperson Beatrice Mikuwa admitted that they did not comply with the discharge order, but said it was for good reasons.
She said the passport and foreign currencies are going to be used as exhibits and the police have every intention to re-open the case.
Mikuwa argued the discharge did not mean end of the case.
But Phoya said a court order ought to be respected.
He said if the matter is discharged, there was no justification for police to cling to what they confiscated from his client.
Phoya said: “The State did not appear in court even on some appointed dates back in November and December last year, leading to adjournments. And now that the court has duly discharged my client; here they are, defying the court’s order with impunity.
“Our response to this
regrettable reaction on the part of the police will be in accordance with what the law provides under such circumstances.”
The order for the discharge, issued by presiding Blantyre principal resident magistrate Godfrey Balaka, was made after Phoya had argued on Wednesday that the absence of the prosecution team without any explanations whatsoever was in keeping with the lack of appetite which the prosecution had shown towards the case.
The court’s order was directed to South West Region Police’s prosecution office, Fiscal Police in Blantyre and director general of Immigration Directorate.
Hashmi was arrested at the border post on his way to Mozambique after satisfying all exit requirements, including receiving an exit stamp in his Canadian passport