Mphwiyo shooting suspects named, paraded in court

Malawi Police on Thursday paraded two people detained in connection to the shooting of Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo who was poised to unveil a network of corruption.

The state paraded the two suspects, identified as Robert Kadzuwa and Macdonald Kumwembe, before Magistrate Patrick Chirwa not to charge them of any offence but to seek approval from the court to keep on detaining them.

Kadzuwa and Kumwembe are being suspected of being behind the shooting of Paul Mphwiyo, the Director of Budget in the Ministry of Finance last Friday night as he drove into his house at the low density suburb of Area 43 in Lilongwe.

Mphwiyo, who was shot at three times, is currently undergoing treatment in a South African hospital where reports indicate his condition remains critical but stable.

The suspects

The suspects

Appearing before the court, Malawi’s Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Bruno Kalemba, told Magistrate Chirwa, the state’s intention to continue detaining the suspects was aimed at ensuring smooth investigations of the matter.

The suspects were brought to the court on an ordinary minibus to avoid drawing unnecessary attention from the public and were taken back to Maula Prison on the same.

Kalemba said the state still had a lot of leads to work on before concluding the investigations as such they needed more time before coming up with a formal charge on the suspects.

But the DPP indicated the suspects were likely to be charged with an offence of attempted murder which, he said, was subject to change should anything happen to Mphwiyo, depending on the circumstances (in the event that he dies).

After the DPP’s presentation, one lawyer representing the suspects objected to the state’s request of continued detention saying the action was an impingement on their rights.

However, Magistrate Chirwa after studying the two parties’ presentations, agreed with the state to continue detaining the suspects.

Magistrate Chirwa said considering the prevailing circumstances surrounding the case, he felt the state had valid reasons to continue detaining the suspects until such a time they are ready to bring to court enough evidence and charge the suspects.

He, however, advised the DPP to bring the matter before the high court of Malawi and not at Magistrate level as the case boarders on murder case.

The Lilongwe Magistrate Court was jam-packed with the audience listening to the proceedings with keen interest.

There was no news about the third suspect who was arrested together with the three and his identity.

The government said the shooting was not what had appeared to be a robbery gone wrong, but an attempt on Mphwiyo’s life.

The shooting was “a planned and targeted attack aimed at silencing him and the government in the fight against high levels of corruption and fraud,” the presidency said in a statement.

President Joyce Banda, who appointed Mphwiyo, 37, in July as the budget chief, told state radio that he was on the verge of busting a corruption ring.

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