Suspected shooter of former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo, Macdonald Kumwembe, on Wednesday entered his defence in the case, denying shooting the former budget director, saying as a trained solider he could not have missed Mphwiyo at the range he was during the shooting.
Kumwembe, a former Malawi Defence Force soldier, was found with a case to answer on charges of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
But during cross-examination on Wednesday afternoon, Kumwembe told the court that he knew Mphwiyo from way back in 1999 as a friend and that Mphwiyo was a Personal Assistant to the late Dumbo Lemani, a former influential minister in the UDF government.
Kumwembe said he has been friends with Mphwiyo all along and could not have any inspiration to kill his old pal.
He also said the one who shot Mphwiyo was an amateur trigger man and not a trained solder like him.
“As a former trained soldier if given a gun to shoot at the range Mphwiyo was at that fateful night, I don’t think I could miss a target with a bullet. So, it means the one who attempted to kill Mphwiyo was not fully trained personnel to use the gun like in my case”, said Kumwembe.
Mphwiyo was shot outside his Area 43 home on September 13 2013 and his shooting led to mass arrests of civil servants and private sector businesspersons linked to Cashgate.
He also corrected some information before the court, saying he was not married but remained single and accused police officer Chilinda who carried investigation into his arrest and his testimony of him being convicted for robbery charges in Machinga as fabrication and malicious..
Kumwembe tendered a clearance letter from his former employer the Army which was read in the court that he was not convicted by any court of jurisdiction in the country.
He told the court that Chilinda falsely testified against him because while Kumwembe was working with the secret government agency, he uncovered Chilinda’s illegal gun scam.
However, Kumwembe failed to produce details of names of the lodge where he spent the night in Mozambique on this fateful day per claims saying as a foreigner in that country could not bother keep on memorizing names of rest houses, guest houses, lodges and bars.
“My lord, on this fateful day, I was outside the country, in Mozambique as my business demands travelling. However, it wasn’t in my mind of keeping the names where I spent a night. So, there is no basis that my passport stamp was tampered with due to this minor issue of unable to remember the name of bar was relaxing”, wondered Kumwembe.
Earlier in the morning, Judge Mtambo revoked Kumwembe’s co-accuse, former justice minister Ralph Kasambara’s bail due to perceived security reasons on the part of the judge himself and delaying tactics by the duo’s applications that the judge must opt himself out of the case alleging bias and that he has demonstrated to have a personal vendetta against Kasambara.
Kasambara has since described the curtailing of his freedom as confirmation of Mtambo’s alleged plan to embark on vendetta against him.
“We have personal issues between me and the judge, it’s laughable, akuti ndinamuyalutsa za CV” said Kasambara in a Facebook conversation
Kasambara, however, said he will take the motion to Supreme Court of Appeal.
He said it is not the prosecutor but the Judge’s own motion that has revoked his bail “because of the CV and I will take it to the Supreme Court of Appeal.”
In court affidavit, Kumwembe attached Judge Mtambo’s curriculum vitae (CV).
Judge Mtambo’s CV indicates that he volunteered to represent an impregnated woman who sued Kasambara when he was Attorney General, when all lawyers were afraid to take on a senior government official – the client Rubina Alibaba Kaonga, believed not to be in UK, lost the case.
The Director of Public prosecution, Mary Kachale submitted to court through Enock Chibwana who is among the prosecution team that in the interest of justice and the security of judges, the court could move a motion for bail revocation.
“We feel there is enough evidence to warrant bail revocation. The presentation of the purported CV of the trial judge and the application for recusal of the trial judge by the first accused indicate that it is a joint enterprise between the first and third accused person.
“The first accused person could not have authored the document. He is semiliterate and not fluent in English. The legal flaming of the document belongs to the third accused,” said Chibwana.
He added that the security of judges should be taken seriously and ability of the third accused to obtain private information about individuals was a threat to the security of the judge.
Kasambara queried if it was possible for the high court to revoke bail granted by the Supreme Court and whether there were enough grounds for bail revocation.
“I have been cooperative with court proceedings. The issue of delaying the case assuming that is what I am charged with can be dealt with by the court by among others ordering a stop on applications. It is an issue of management,” argued Kasambara.
But Mtambo ruled:“The court has found that there are sufficient grounds for bail revocation for the third accused and therefore his bail is hereby revoked and must be remanded in custody.”
After the ruling Kasambara applied for a stay of the judge’s ruling until Friday to allow him deal with some private issues which was denied.
Judge Mtambo described Kasambara’s request as “strange”.
Said Mtambo: “Madam DPP help me. I am getting strange applications”
Judge Mtambo adjourned the case to October 13, 2015 for further cross-examining of Kumwembe and Pika Manondo the third accused.
Four days have been remitted for the court to finish the cross-examination proceedings from October 13 to 16, 2015.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :