Police in Blantyre last Friday arrested four Portland Cement Limited (Lafarge) workers for allegedly working in the country without permits and another one for alleged theft by servant and fraudulent false accounting. The five were released on bail the following day by the Blantyre High Court. Blantyre Police Public Relations Officer Elizabeth Divala confirmed the arrests but said she did not have further details on the matter as she was still waiting for information from the Fiscal Police.
But according to court documents, the four who were arrested for the alleged offence of being in the country illegally and not having valid permits include Johannes Henork Esterhuizen, Cornelius Jacobus Olivier, Donovin van Staden and Michel Soirat.
According to an affidavit by Chisanga, Soirat is a French national who came to Malawi on temporary visa which will expire in 30 days’ time. “While legally staying in Malawi Portland Cement Company Limited has applied for a work permit for the accused to be employed as a plant manager. If the Immigration Department refuses to approve and issue a work permit for him, the accused will leave the country,” partly reads the affidavit.
Justice Healey Potani granted bail to all four subject to certain conditions and the surrender of passports etc..