Bingu riled over state lawyers snub on Kasambara’s case

Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika is reported to be annoyed with reports that state lawyers are refusing to prosecute prominent lawyer Ralph Kasambara in a “politicaly motivated” case.

Kasambara is charged with offences of kidnapping and assault but currently out on bail

Ministry of Justice spokesperson, Apoche Itimu, said the lawyers are  “ giving out various reasons for the refusal” with others caliming they know the former Attorney General personally while others say they were his law students at University of Malawi.

Kasambara: After being released

State House sources say President Mutharika was upset with the report, ordering government through Minister of Justice Ephraim Chiume, to hire services of “good lawyers” to handle Kasambara’s case.

The President also told religious leaders, who met him for an audience at Sanjika Palace over the country’s various problems, that his former attorney general was a “crook who should not be trusted.”

Joy Radio quoted Mutharika speaking on Friday saying, Kasambara “is a crook. Don’t take him seriously…he defends criminals.”

Meanwhile, Kasambara, who sued the Inspector General of Police Peter Mukhito and the Chief Commissioner of Prisons for Contempt of Court for continuing to detain him even after a court bail was granted, has included 10 more police officers as defendants.

The 10 include senior officers, Southern Region Commissioner of Police Rodney Jose, Eastern Region Police Commissioner Finley Binali, Malawi Police Service Head of Criminal Investigations Department Lexa Chalera, newly-appointed Police Spokesperson Davie Chingwalu, Southern Region Police Spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa and Head of Prosecution Happy Mkandawire.

The other officers are Carolyn Jere, F. B. Mkuka, a Mr. Katuya, a Mr. Kaputa and Eastern Region Police CID Officer, a Mrs. Ngami.

The officers are accused of contempt for the various roles they played in Kasambara’s matter leading to his indefinite detention despite the bail obtained from the Blantyre Magistrate’s Court and the High Court Order that restrained the State from further holding Kasambara in detention.

Kasambara was detained at Chichiri Prison and later at Zomba Maximum Security Prison before he was rushed to Mwaiwathu Private Hospital in Blantyre on Friday following a heart problem.

The former Attorney General and five others were arrested on February 13, 2012 on charges of assault. On February 14, 2012, Kasambara and his associates obtained a court bail despite the on-going strike by judiciary support staff that has paralyzed the justice delivery system. He was released the next day but was re-arrested two hours later and has been detained until Tuesday when police granted him bail.

One of the lawyers representing Kasambara in the matter, Lusungu Gondwe said the contempt lawsuits were filed at the High Court Zomba Registry and were served on the defendants and the State. The State is being represented by Tiwonge Kayira.

But hearing of the case could not commence on Wednesday because of the on-going strike by court clerks.

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