High Court Judge Micheal Mtambo had a disbelief in former Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister, Raphael Kasambara’s claim of remorse for his role in the attempted murder of ex- Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo.
During sentencing oral submissions on Tuesday, lawyer Modeccai Msiska, SC, told the court that Kasambara was remorseful for his actions .
“Our client has been a man of good character all through until the events that led to this crime happened. And this was also demonstrated through the behaviour he portrayed when this court gave him bail in the very same case,” Msiska, who was assisted by other lawyers Lusungu Gondwe and Wanangwa Hara submitted to court in mitigation to spare custodial sentence.
But Judge Mtambo expressed his disbelief, saying Kasambara showed no inference of remorse, apology, or regret.
The judge went on to say the manner in which Kasamnbara handled himself before the court during trial did not show that he was remorseful.
Mtambo cited one incident where Kasambara made verbal threats on one of the witnesses as an example of a convict that is not remorseful.
“Can you provide me with evidence that the third accused (Kasambara) was remorseful? Again, between the State and defence, who is supposed to give evidence of remorse?” asked the judge.
Msiska asked the court to allow him consult the convict and after exchanging verbal notes with Kasambara, the lawyer told the court that the convict “regrets the events that led to the circumstances he is in today.”
Accoriding to Msiska, former minister’s regrets “could be evidence that he is remorseful.”
But Judge Mtambo did not take it to be sincere.
Director of Public Prosecution, Mary Kachale submitted to court that Kasambara was a danger to the society who needed to be jailed for the crimes he committed.
She also submitted that another convict Macdonald Kumwembe ,a former Malawi Defence Force soldier, is a serious danger to the society as he had portrayed that trained soldiers could use the skills gained from military trainings to “organise crimes and conspire to kill in the society”.
State that suspended sentences or community service would not be the appropriate ones in this matter.
Judge Mtambo in his determination said Kasambara together with Kumwembe and Pika Manondo should be incarcerated.
He pointed out that the convicts had created a psychological trauma, which the gun-shot survivor Mphwiyo and his family will live with for the rest of their lives.
“Above all, the purpose of the sentence is not only to punish the offender, but also to protect the life of the same. I, therefore, sentence the first and second accused persons to 15 years imprisonment with hard labour on the first count of attempted murder; and, another 11 years IHL for conspiracy to murder. These sentences will run consecutively,” said the judge before handing down a 13-year jail term on Kasambara.
Mphwiyo’s shooting in 2013 is believed to have exposed Malawi’s worst financial scandal, known as “cashgate”.
The former budget director in the finance ministry, Mphwiyo, was flown to South Africa for medical treatment after he was shot.
He recovered and testified at Kasambara’s trial.
Mphwiyo is however also answering charges related to a multi-million dollar corruption ring.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :