Case of Shooting of former budget director in the ministry of Finance, Paul Mphwiyo has now entered defence where first accused Mcdonald Kumwembe ex Malawi Defence Force soldier, second accused businessman Pika Manondo and former justice minister Raphael Kasambara are now defending themselves on charge of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
The matter which is being heard at Lilongwe High Court with Justice Michel Mtambo presiding, entered into defence Thursday 11th December with State top prosecutor Mary Kachale cross examining first accused Kumwembe for the whole day on how he is connected with the shooting
DPP: You alleged that you were in Mozambique when the incident happened, can you tell this Court how did you travel? Mode of transport.
Kumwembe: I travelled on a minibus to border there we normally use bicycles to connect to town and get a car and that’s what even my passport shows.
DPP: How much money did you have when going out?
Kumwembe: Mmmmmm its way back and couldn’t remember up to date after all this period
DPP: Roughly if you can estimate
Kumwembe: Around K850, 000
DPP: Does the law allow you to travel outside with those huge sums of Malawi kwacha?
Kumwembe: I’m not here to talk whether it’s legal or not and that question is irrelevant since we’re talking of my trip not what the laws says on money issue. And it’s not my first trip you can check my passport I’m frequent traveller to Mozambique since it’s where I go to order goods for my business.
DPP: But you came there without any goods which you say you went to buy, is it true?
Kumwembe: Yes, I sold them there to Zimbabwean who bought me in dollars and that’s the dollars you found with me in my wallet, in fact I have been doing that for sometimes since I can order and sale right there to Zimbabweans and that’s business you don’t say I will not sale t because I want to sale at my home country.
DPP: Now when coming back from Malawi on 14th September as you alleged, who was the first person to meet at Dedza border?
Kumwembe: I met Pika Manondo (one of the suspect) and it shows I spoke to him through MTN line from Mozambique
DPP: What was the meeting for, what did he tell you there?
Kumwembe: That day he was supposed to give me cash and he was telling me the boss (Mphwiyo) who was supposed to give us cash has been shot so we wait and hear how it ends
DPP: What time was this?
Kumwembe: mmm can’t tell but it has to be between 10 and 11
DPP: Now you said you left your phone with your friend Luciano Chikumbutso, why?
Kumwembe: I left it for him to be communicating with Pika to give him my money
DPP: where was he?
Kumwembe: I assume he was in Zomba where I was staying with him but he was supposed to be in Lilongwe to take my cash from Pika on the day I arrived through Dedza border
DPP: But if he was in Zomba or going to Lilongwe the call log shows your number was at Silver Stadium [in Lilongwe] around 6 am
Kumwembe: I don’t know that since he never told me that he is in Lilongwe. I’m talking of the program which I was told and knew about. He was supposed to be in Lilongwe.
The DPP also quizzed Kumwembe on the connections and how he knew Luciano Chikumbutso. The state read Kumwembe’s affidavit which indicated that Chikumbutso was his cousin as he was his mother sister’s son.
But when he was asked to explain, Kumwembe refused that Luciano was his blood brother, saying he is his brother as they have been friends since their youthful life and they have lived together as such.
The top prosecutor then quizzed Kumwembe to confess he lied to court that he was his brother but he denied saying he meant he is his brother looking at how long their friendship has been.
State produced a letter allegedly written by Luciano father and sister refusing that their son who is based in South Africa was in the country by that time, saying his son left the country January early in 2012 and since then he has never been in the country that he even failed to matted his mother funeral ceremony.
Kumwembe disputed the authenticity of the letter, saying it was not written by the father as a CID officer Mr Matanki went to the parents and threatened them to disown his affidavit and that the parents wrote that in fear.
But he maintained Luciano was in the country by that time and he is the one who was using his number when he was in Mozambique.
Kumwembe also alleged in the court that CID top official Mr Matanki went to see him while in prison on 5th October 2015 and also visited the father at his house in Area 25 and took him to Area 30 till 7pm and it’s possible he was forced to write the letter.
Pika relationship and MCP work
The state also quizzed Kumwembe on his relationship with Manondo
DPP: how do you know Pika Manondo?
Kumwembe: I know him as my business partner whom we were working together for party business; he is the one who was going to get our payments to Mphwiyo and Osward Lutepo [cashgate convict] on work issues.
DPP: Where does he live?
Kumwembe: Area 47 in Lilongwe
DPP: How much money did he give you at the border?
Kumwembe: I can’t remember but it has to be around K700, 000
DPP: What was this money for?
Kumwembe: It was part payment of our work which I was heading to the south to disturb the MCP party which was to ensure that Lovemore Munlo [former Chief Justice] was not elected as MCP president at the convention as he was a threat.
Kumwembe said he met Manondo in Balaka when the then Head of State Joyce Banda was conducting a political rally at Toleza where she was welcoming former UDF secretary general Kennedy Makwangwala into the Peoples Party where they were told to destabilise MCP convention by decampaigning Munlo.
He said Pika was the one going to get cash from Mphwiyo and Lutepo and the he was distributing it to other operatives.
The state also asked Kumwembe, a former Malawi Defence Force solider, what he meant by saying the person who shot Mphwiyo was an amateur in shooting. Kumwembe told the court that the way he was trained he can shoot the target stationed or moving from 300 metres and not miss the target and as such he couldn’t miss Mphwiyo on 5 metres.
The state also asked him if he has ever shot a person and never miss but Kumwembe said he has never done it but at the Army they were doing the target training and as shooting trained expert he couldn’t miss the target.
Meanwhile the State is expected to continue with cross examination Friday with Manondo.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :