Malawi Police wants to “pick” lawyer Ralph Kasambara who has obtained a court order for two mobile phone network operators, Airtel Malawi Limited and Telekom Networks Malawi Limited (TNM), to provide call data records of former Treasury budget director Paul Mphwiyo and businessperson Oswald Lutepo for the period June 1 to September 30 2013.
Kasambara, a former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in President Joyce Banda’s administration, is accusing Mphwiyo and Lutepo of hate messages and intimidation and has sought permission to privately prosecute them.
Private practice lawyer Lusungu Gondwe representing Kasambara told Nyasa Times that he suspects “fishy” activities in the way Malawi government is handling the call logs case which his client is prosecuting privately for intimidation charges.
Gondwe said this after the Deputy Director in the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) a Mrs Mgami indicated that they want Kasambara at the Police headquarters in Lilongwe.
“Around 3 or 4 a Mrs Ngami (Deputy Director in CID) phoned asking for Ralph Kasambara’s whereabouts. Upon querying what it was all about, she said Police want Kasambara to record a statement of complaint and that she was leaving Lilongwe for Blantyre to get him to Area 30, Police Headquarters,” said Gondwe in an interview with Nyasa Times.
Mrs Ngami apparently is one of the 10 police officers Kasambara sued during the Bingu WA Mutharika regime for disobeying a court order releasing him on bail. She was an Eastern Region CID Officer.
Gondwe said the law provides a complainant to lodge a complaint to the court or with police and is despicable to see that the complainant like in this case is being lined up for an arrest.
“Why arrest my client (Kasambara) and force him to give a statement of complaint to the police? After all, the Director of Public Prosecutions Bruno Kalemba has already taken over the case,” said Gondwe.
Gondwe further added that it raises fears that the DPP is acting in the interest of Lutepo and Mphwiyo but persecuting Kasambara who said the DPP and Police should write to justify the legal basis of their move.
He described the Police move as tantamount to harassment.
Mphwiyo and Lutepo sought reliefs in the High Court to quash the court order, arguing that the decision of Blantyre senior resident magistrate Viva Nyimba to order release of their call logs infringed on their constitutional right to the privacy of their communications.
The duo represented by lawyer Kalekeni Kaphale further argued that they have no alternative remedy to seek legal redress on the matter anywhere other than the High Court through the judicial review procedure since they are not party to the proceedings in the magistrate’s court.
High Court Judge Healey Potani doubted their application on alternative remedy and reasons that they are not party to the proceedings.
“Actually, these proceedings are between the Republic and the applicants. In the circumstances, I have doubts whether the leave sought or judicial review is merited, as such I direct that the applicants should seek redress in the proceedings the orders they are complainants here made,” ruled Potani on December 20 2013.
Kasambara faces the charge of conspiracy to murder Mphwiyo who was shot outside his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe on September 13 2013. He is currently out on a court bail after being arrested on November 8.
Lutepo, charged with money laundering, is also out on court bail after paying a K50 million cash bond.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :