High Court Judge Michael Mtambo on Thursday in the capital Lilongwe granted a subpoena for two state witnesses to appear in court and testify in the case of the shooting of Malawi’s former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo.
There five e accused persons including former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ralph Kasambara who is answering charges of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder alongside Macdonald Kumwembe who Mphwiyo identified as the shooter, Dauka Manondo, Pika Manondo, Robert Kadzuwa and Osward Lutepo. Lutepo is yet to enter his plea while the other suspects have pleaded not guilty..
Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mary Kachale applied to the court to subpoena Charles Kachale and a Mr Chalunda because they failed to show up to testify.
Kachale told the court that the state served the two with summons to appear in court on March 3, 2014 and they agreed only to become elusive recently.
“The two are currently not at their homes, we know that they are afraid with the harassment they are receiving from the accused so the two are not within our custody and control,” she said.
Kachale told the court that the two witness were supposed to be in Lilongwe on Sunday but did not show up.
Prosecution has accused the defence of employing ‘mafia-like operations’ to intimidate State witnesses.
Kachale earlier told the court that they dealing with mafia-like operations.
But defence lawyers who felt that the state’s action is not clear.
“The position of the state has never been clear, they knew that their witnesses are elusive, the could have done with all the paper work even yesterday but they chose not to, this is worrisome,” said attorney John Gift Mwakhwawa.
He added: “The state has all the machinery to bring the witnesses to court even tomorrow, if they want us to assist then suggestions then we are ready and one way could be using a broadcast on Malawi Broadcasting Cooperation (MBC) and the message will get them.”
Kasambara who is representing himself said the “drama” being played by the top prosecutor is obvious because she knew already that they are dealing with very elusive witnesses.
However, Kachale who described the use of a broadcast not viable, said as much as the state has the machinery, they cannot bring the two witnesses immediately.
According to Kachale, there was a balance of probability that there had been interference and intimidation of State witnesses and the State had proof in its custody.
Kasambara has since condemned the two witnesses who are accusing the defence of intimidation, arguing that they are serial convicts.
Justice Mtambo adjourned the case to Friday where the state will parade an investigator a Mr Chilinda as its witness.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :