Case of shooting victim in ‘cashgate’ fails due to Malawi judiciary strike

The case in which renowned lawyer Ralph Kasambara, businessman Pika and his elder brother Dauka, Robert Kadzuwa and Mac Donald Kumwembe  are charged of allegedly conspiring and attempting to kill  former Malawi Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo, whose shooting on 13 September 2013 led to the unravelling of the systematic looting of millions of government money dubbed ‘cashgate’, failed to start on Wednesday November 12 as the striking  judiciary support staff  disrupted the hearing.Road to the High Court closed

Pika and brother Dauka waiting outside court premises

Pika and brother Dauka waiting outside court premises

Mphwiyo:  Gun shot survivor reportedly was targeted after whistle blowing on cashgate

Mphwiyo: Gun shot survivor reportedly was targeted after whistle blowing on cashgate

The court staff demanding that government should increase their salaries as it did with all civil servants.

The support staff includes court reporters that record all court proceedings, stenographers who transcribe them, court clerks, secretaries and guards. Their action will likely paralyse the courts and access to justice.

According to defence lawyer Wapona Kita, before they started briefing Justice Michael Ntambo in his chamber, the support staff started singing songs of protest.

“We have been told that we will be communicated as to when the case will start soon after the strike has been called off,” said Kita in an interview.

Kasambara was supposed to continue cross examining Mphwiyo in the case.

In the last sitting, Kasambara punched holes in the testimony of shooting victim Mphwiyo, disputing claims that he saw his gunman at the scene and he was being pressurised to make dubious payments to companies.

Defence lawyers for the accused persons also disputed claims that Mphwiyo identified the gunman as Macdonald Kumwembe, lawyer Ralph Kasambara and businessman Pika Manondo when he was shot.

It was also Kasambara, who is representing himself, who brought in the element that the car Mphwiyo was driving on September 13 as having been stolen and unregistered to which Mphwiyo said he was not aware of.

Kita, lawyer for Kumwembe, Kadzuwa and Dauka tendered as evidence a passport of Kumwembe which indicated that he travelled to Mozambique between August 30 and September 14 2013.

The gun-shot survivor in his testimony told the court that Brown Mpinganjira, a senior government official in the former Joyce Banda administration, warned him that former Justice Minister and Attorney Ralph Kasambara and another former ruling People’s Party (PP) official Hophmally Makande, had given him “ten days to live” unless he honoured certain government payments.

Makande, a former PP spokesman, is not on trial for the case but Kasambara, who has been charged with conspiracy to murder Mphwiyo, denies the charges. He is on trial alongside four others, including a cashgate chief suspect Oswald Lutepo who was recently included as an accused in the matter.

Mphwiyo told the court that two bullets hit him in the mandible and another went through his shoulder to his chest. One bullet was removed in a South African hospital but two others – lodged in his spinal column – will remain inside the 38-year-old for the rest of his life.

Mphwiyo’s shooting unravelled ‘cashgate’ as his shooting came after millions of cash in Malawi kwacha, US dollars and South African rands started pitching up in unlikely places like in car trunks, baby dolls, under beds or in pillow cases where one Victor Sithole, a junior accountant in government was arrested and recently jailed nine years.

Western donor countries and agencies reacted by freezing aid for Malawi.

At least 70 suspects are currently in court facing fraud, corruption and money laundering charges surrounding ‘cashgate’, Malawi’s worst financial scandal in its 50 years as an independent country.—(Additional reporting by Wanga Gwede, Nyasa Times)

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26 thoughts on “Case of shooting victim in ‘cashgate’ fails due to Malawi judiciary strike”

  1. khamani!! says:

    Malawi sadzathekanso basi … Rubbish on more rubbish. But let’s say the truth , bakili muluzi is the WORST thing that ever happened to Malawi. Malawi has not made meaningful progress since 1994.

  2. Onyema says:

    Achewa just shut up kupusa kwambiri you have no ambition as long as you have eaten nsima thats okay. Just look at the way Belekanyama and his committee endorsed the useless ambassadors just because they were paid a million keacha each. It is written in the bible that Mchewa and Mtumbuka shall never rule but work for southerners.

  3. wafika says:

    tendering as evidence that the incident happened while one was outside the country is no evidence at all. on a planned event, that is what is supposed to be done. go outside the country officially then come back using illegal ways, execute your mission then go back through the same way. Finally back into the country through the border using the passport. SO EASY and claim you were outside the country. just try this and the evidence will become irrelevant. Mwatani a Malawi being outside the country is no evidence at all.

    1. kachikho says:

      Number 18 is wrong to say that the fact that Kumwembe’s passport shows that he was outside the country when the shooting of Mphwiyo happened can not be evidence that he was not at the scene of shooting. The State is the one to prove by bringing evidence that he was indeed in the country at the time. Surely if Kumwembe was in the country at that time, some people other than Mphwiyo must have seen him. It looks like Mphwiyo was shot for double crossing some partners in crime

  4. sayimoni bayisikolo says:

    These greedy cashgate people hv caused so much havoc to the povos in Malawi.No drugs in Malawian hospitals,economy is in shambles,everything not working because our donors hv lost trust in us because of these thieves protected by hungry money loving lawyers.These people shd be thrown in jails and their properties forfeited to recover the waisted tax payers money.If it was China they would all hv been dangling on the rope.With this silly mindset,Malawian will never change.Izitipotsa ndi Rwanda where people had been butchering each other like nobody business.If nothing changes Malawians should go in street and demonstrate for change of all these useless incompetent govts taking Malawians for granted.The judicial system in Malawi really stinks.It only favours the crooked minted people.Their civil service salaries cannot afford such type of their Hollywood lifestyles.What type of evidence r u trying to look at?Malawi is sinking down because of these type of the thievery phwiyos,senzani and other greedy thieves who thinks their tummies are more important than the ordinary malawians who are taxed to the nose.

  5. Yobe boo says:

    Plato you are very very very right, this country is at mess because of the people from the south. All crooked and president theifs have come from the south, they introduced cashgate because people from the south they do not know to work for themselves. Very lazy people, all they expect is to receive free hand outs. Every year this region is found in very critical hunger situation. It is the central and the north that is feeding these lazy people.

    Remember it is southern leaders who often said “anyamata azithamangathamanga” meaning kuba. We serious robbery and crime rate now in Malawi because of these people. You check, all the people involved in gun robbery are southerners

    Let me also remind you that most of the people on the cashgate list are southerners. What a shame. We are tired of these anthu osolola. Akhale paokha ife a pakati sitikuwafuna ayi. Let central region alone you evil people. Mwalembana nokha nokha ntchito, Kukonderana basi.

    Abale mukuti Chani ?

  6. Nkasai says:

    Hire drivers,stenographers,reporters ,interpreters etc from MDF.They more effectI’ve than these selfish rascals

  7. TENDAI says:

    cashgate at work.

  8. Ebola says:

    nde malingana ndi December akuyandikilayu anthu amajowajowafe zitivutatu – kutimanga si kutuluka ndekuti strike ikazatha. makupe

  9. Milandu yama juniors ikuyenda fast kusiyana ndiya little bigger fishes
    Just thinking loud.

  10. YOKWIYA says:

    The thing is, all judicially support staff think they are lawyers just because they work in courts where they interact with the liers. Is it not just a few months ago that their salaries were increased? I think government should not succumb to their demands each and every time they cry out. Asatisowetse mtendere amanewa. Instead, they should be retired or transfered to other government departments. We have young lawyers coming from BIU, Mpemba and other private colleges. Employ them to start gaining experience as support staff and later they can rise to become real lawyers through further studies as at the moment they are not being recognised becasue of some draconian old laws. The whole legal system in Malawi leaves a lot to be desired. We need to revamp it and this should be done as soon as yesterday, Mr President (if at all you do read comments on social media).

  11. Pacharo says:

    The two Manondos, all gangsters. Shame.

  12. Akilly 2 says:

    Boma lotenga thru Court and yet u r failing to honour those who helped the rigging DPP to be governing nyasaland, chipanda a Court-wa bwenzi tikulamulira ndife a MCP, inu zoona Courtmarshal azilandila K30,000.00 netpay pomwe wokolopa ku ADD azilandira K48,000.00 net pay. Plz guys osabwelera m’mbuyo we r behind u push this mid night government till they pay u, ife a MCP we were and we still respect the Judiciary 4 ur gud interpretations!!!!

  13. GONANI says:

    This is unacceptable! Please, authority fire those stupid people. Every time things start going smoothly, there are people who want to disturb, why? No sense!

  14. Plato says:

    The servants have right to strike. Don’t blame innocent Malawians who are suffering because Muluzi, Bingu, JB & Peter Cashgate Policy. Voters in the South have given us thieves since 1994. One can use a fallacy that all Southerners are althieves & therefore it follows that all presidents to come from the South shall be Hardcore Thieves. Muluzi 1.7 billion, Bingu|PETER 92 billion, JB 24 billion & Peter MHC houses. No one can contradict that. Infact all Malawians learnt cashgating from Muluzi, father & founder of Cashgate. Shame on southern voters. Vuto ndiloti anthu awa amakonda ndalama ya easy.

    1. Sapitwa kakulanye says:

      Plato, that is the worst generalization I have ever read. Use facts to justify your claims. Southerners are Malawians from all ethic grouping and to say that they are responsible for voting for thieves is not good for everyone. To become a president at least votes should come from all the regions. Check MEC website then you shall know what I mean. Even suspects in cashgate are from all regions. Remember during presidents Muluzi, late Bingu wa Mutharika, J. Banda and Peter Mutharika there are or were cabinet ministers and senior government officials from all over Malawi. What you should know is that a president uses these people to run government. You cannot blame a region for cashgate, this is a national issue which does not even relate to a tribe or region. We should all feel sorry for ourselves that cashgate occurred and the result is many innocent Malawians from all regions are suffering.

    2. Ebola says:

      Ngati ukuwona ngati mtumbuka atha kukhala president pa malawi pano nde ukuzinamiza kwambili.

  15. Mulomwe says:

    Kasambala at work.

  16. Chikadzakuwani says:

    Ambwiye mwatitopeka ndi nkhani zimenezi nkhani zanji zosathazo musalembenso apa iyai. Palibe munthu amenme akufuna kunva nkhani zanu zopusazi ai.

  17. Mfwethu says:

    How many times must the salaries of court staff be increased? Wasn’t it just recently that these people went on strike again and their perks were revised? APM smoke these troublesome staff out!

  18. Malawiana says:

    We know this strike has been artificially created to cool down the cashgate convictions. We all heard in the budget statement that salary increments for these people were factored in but someone is deliberately delaying implementation to cause havoc at judiciary. Mafia, mafia and more mafia!

    1. otopa says:

      musawaonjezele malipiro anthu ozikondawa bwanji sananyanyare pamene iwowo anawaonjezela ndalama pamene anzawo sanawaonjezele, afufuzidwe maphunziro awo ngati akugwilizana ndi maphunziro awo, asimikizile amalawi kuti asiya kutchaja ma court costs moonjezela monga ma seen visit ndi yopelekela samani, asiya kudya ndalama za chipepeso aziyamba nchito ndi kuweluka munthawi yake

  19. alexander forbes says:

    so sad

  20. Poor Malawian says:

    So junior court staff have decided to take the whole country at ransom by denying us ss to quick justice on these cashgate cases??? We shall see. We know where they live and we know the mode of transport they use when going home. We also know where their children go in the morning. we shall definitely see. We can’t just sit back and watch this nonsense

    1. Cashgate 1 says:

      In your eyes you may regard them as juniors, but each one of then is as important as everyone when it comes to contributing to development of this nation regardless of one being a watchman, messenger or what have you. Now you may understand as to why they are important.

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