Gift Desire Nyirenda, the mayor of Mzuzu City, will remain in police custody for a further four days after a magistrate court today postponed a ruling on bail until Friday, August 19.
On Saturday, Nyirenda was taken into custody on suspicion of defiling his 14-year-old niece.
However, when he appeared in court today, Nyirenda entered a not guilty plea to the accusation and requested bail through lawyer Davie Lameck.
According to Lameck, the suspect cannot tamper with state witnesses as their identities are currently concealed.
The suspect, he further argued, has a permanent residence in Mzuzu and is well-known in the community, so if given bail, he will be unable to violate any of its terms.
However, in order to allow the state to complete its investigations, State Prosecutor Moja Phiri has asked the Child Justice Court to remand Nyirenda for a week.
Phiri voiced concern that the accused would interfere with investigations if released on court bail, citing experience with a former councilor in Mzuzu who ran away after being placed on court bail.
Senior Resident Magistrate Felix Prosper Kamtsalira has postponed the case to Friday in order to decide on bail and set a hearing date.
The wife of the accused fainted after the court’s decision and was quickly rushed to hospital for medical attention.
Meanwhile, Mzuzu City Council has sent a word of moral and spiritual support to Nyirenda saying “our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family and the people of Mzuzu.”