Malawi top prosecutor queries Manondo, Gani ‘persecution’ claims

The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) has questioned the motive behind arrested Pika Manondo and police officer, Keston Gani’s revelations that they are being victimized by police to implicate former Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara in Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo’s murder-attempt case.

Kasambara, one of the country’s prominent lawyers and a senior counsel (SC), his former bodyguard, Keston Gani and Pika Manondo have been charged with attempting to murder Mphwiyo in Lilongwe’s Area 43 residential estate on September 13 this year.

Manondo through his lawyer, John Gift Mwakhwawa as well as a sworn affidavit by Gani revealed that the law-enforcers are victimizing the two following their refusal to betray Kasambara, currently remanded at Zomba prison.

But in an interview with Nyasa Times, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Bruno Kalemba while describing the issue contentious, refused to admit as to why police were forcing Manondo and Gani to become State witnesses.

Kalemba: They should have raised their concerns in court

He instead expressed surprise with their conduct, arguing the two were not obliged to disclose such information.

Kalemba said: “It’s very contentious issue. If I were the lawyer of those accused persons, I wouldn’t bring that out now. Only the state has the obligation to disclose its evidence, the accused person doesn’t”.

The country’s top prosecutor questioned the motive behind the disclosure of such information to the public.

“I don’t know who their lawyer is and why is telling the public now. They will have time to say that in court, not now. They are basically telling us what their evidence is and where to go and investigate further. I don’t know who their lawyer is and I am surprised,” he said.

Police national deputy spokesperson Kelvin Maigwa once denied claims that they were forcing Manondo to implicate Kasambara, arguing there was no grain of truth in the claim.

But lawyer John Gift Mwakhwawa in separate interview told Nyasa Times that his client, has every right to disclose information to the public.

“They are not going to tell us how to handle our case. We are the ones to decide which information to give out or not. I said what exactly happened to my client,” said Mwakhwawa.

He was quick then to urge the DPP to investigate the raised claims.

Mwakhwawa said: “Their concern shouldn’t be how we are handling our case, the concern should be on the raised complaint. Let them investigate and prove us wrong because it’s an offence to force someone to wrongly testify against others”.

The lawyer told Nyasa Times recently that his client who handed himself over to police on Thursday, November 7 2013, was ‘literally’ being persecuted for refusing to implicate Kasambara in the matter.

“He denies knowledge of any involvement of Mr Kasambara,” he said. “What should bother every Malawian minded with justice is the question as to who is asking the police to implicate Kasambara and why”.

Makhwawa said after refusing to cooperate with Police in the deal to implicate Kasambara, the law-enforcer stopped offering Manondo VIP treatment and transferred him to Kasungu Prison from Area 3 Police Station where he was being kept.

Manondo is on record saying he will reveal how certain influential people managed to abuse the Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) to siphon billions of kwacha from government coffers.

And a sworn affidavit Gani filed at court revealed three senior police detectives, Makwinja, Chilinda and Chaima who are at the centre of an attempt by the Malawi police to coerce him to implicating his former boss in the shooting of Mphwiyo.

According to the affidavit, Gani claims that the named detectives threatened him to lie that he had lent his gun to Kasambara which they allege was used in the shooting.

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