State objects to Manondo bail plea

Director of Public Prosecutions Bruno Kalemba has objected to the release on bail of Pika Manondo who is one of the key suspects in the shooting of Malawi’s Ministry of Finance Budget Director, Paul Mphwiyo.

Kalemba told Justice Ivy Kamanga during the bail hearing on Wednesday in Lilongwe that Manondo could not be trusted to remain in the country for trial when he had fled the country just a day after Mphwiyo was shot.

He said the State is still carrying out investigations and that Manondo who remains on remand at Kasungu prison should not be released.

“We have to bear in mind that the suspect is a flight risk following his quick exit from the country after a warrant of arrest was issued, so as the State, we would want him to remain in custody until all investigations are concluded,” said Kalemba.

Manondo still remanded as he threatens to spill the beans

But Manondo’s lawyer Gilbery Khonyongwa argued that Manondo – did not appear for his bail application- would not leave fled Malawi when granted bail, arguing he had handed himself over to Police upon hearing that he was a wanted man.

Justice Kamanga reserved Monondo bail ruling till next week.

One of Manondo’s lawyer, John Gift Makhwawa recently claimed his client was facing persecution for refusing to implicate former Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Ralph Kasambara in the matter.

He said police had been enticing Manondo to be a state witness and implicate the former minister, a move he refused.

“Police have been pressing my client to implicate Kasambara, that’s what my client told me and that’s what I saw as well… after he refused to cooperate with them in the deal by denying knowledge of any involvement of Mr Kasambara he is now being literally persecuted,” lamented Mwakhwawa.

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

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.

The former Justice Minister, who described his case as a sham and that it would go nowhere, has since mentioned President Joyce Banda, her sister Cecilia Kumpukwe, Minister of Information and Civic Education, Brown Mpinganjira, PP Publicity Secretary, Hophmally Makande, among others, as some of his witnesses.

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