Former Malawi Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo, whose shooting on 13 September 2013 led to the unravelling of the systematic looting of millions of government money dubbed ‘cashgate’, on Wednesday returned to High Court in Lilongwe where he has been testifying in his attempted murder case.
Mphwiyo was testifying in cross examination by lawyer and former Justice Minister and Attorney Ralph Kasambara – who was arrested in connection with the shooting.
Kasambara, who has been charged with conspiracy to murder Mphwiyo, denies the charges. He is on trial alongside four others, including a former soldier Macdonald Kumwembe who is said, according to court papers, to have been one of the two hired ‘contract killers’.
Other suspects are businessman Pika Manondo, Robert Kadzuwa and September last year, the court granted the prosecution permission to add businessperson Oswald Lutepo to the shooting case.
As the hearing resumed after a long break marred with judiciary strike, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mary Kachale sought for an adjournment after realising that Lutepo was not in the court. He is reportedly hospitalised.
The defence team comprised of Wapona Kita, John Gift Mwakhwawa and Kasambara himself agreed but Justice Michael Ntambo opted to continue with the case.
Justice Ntambo said so many adjournments are just dragging the conclusion of the case saying he wants it concluded by May.
Before wrapping his cross examination, Kasambara quizzed Mphwiyo how he knows Lutepo and if they used to call each other on the phone.
The gun shot survivor responded by saying he knew Lutepo through Naming’omba Tea Estate and that they used to call each other.
After Kasambara, Mphwiyo now faces Mwakhwawa in cross examination.
In previous court hearing. Mphwiyo said two bullets hit him in the mandible and another went through his shoulder to his chest. One bullet was removed in a South African hospital but two others – lodged in his spinal column – will remain inside the 38-year-old for the rest of his life.
Mphwiyo’s shooting unravelled ‘cashgate’ and the resultant discovery that up to US $30 million was minted from the government payment system, where politicians and businessmen colluded with civil servants for payments for goods and services not rendered to government.
Soon after Mphwiyo’s shooting millions of cash in Malawi kwacha, US dollars and South African rands started pitching up in unlikely places like in car trunks, baby dolls, under beds or in pillow cases.
Mphwiyo is also facing charges of theft and money laundering of K2.1 billion and tax evasion in separate cases.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :