Ex-minister Kasambara granted bail by Malawi Supreme Court: Pending appeal on conviction

Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal has granted bail to former justice minister Ralph Kasambara who has been given serving  a 13-year jail term for conspiracy to murder a civil servant, in a crime believed to be linked to a multi-million dollar corruption ring, as he is pending appeal on his conviction.

Kasambara at court today

Kasambara was sentenced for his role in the attempted murder of ex-National Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo. He was convicted  alongside MacDonald Kumwembe and Pika Manondo and they were all seeking bail.

But Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Dunstan Mwaungulu, sitting as a single Supreme Court Judge, only released on Wednesday when he delivered his ruling.

Mwaungulu heard submissions from Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale and lawyers for the trio, namely Modecai Msisha, Senior Counsel (SC), Michael Goba Chipeta and Lusungu Gondwe.

In his determination. Mwaungulu noted that in convicting Kasambara the High Court judge Micheal Mtambo  has evidently relied on call logs which did not place Kasambara anywhere near the scene of the crime.

The day Mphwiyo was shot outside the gate of his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe, Kasambara was meeting former South African president Thabo Mbeki.

The trio, who have spent 20 months at Zomba Central Prison, have since filed an appeal against their conviction.

In the appeal, the trio, among others, argues that High Court judge Dr Michael Mtambo erred in sentencing them based on phone call logs and that based on the pending appeal, they want the court to release them on bail.

In August 2016, Mtambo sentenced Kasambara to 13 years imprisonment for conspiring to murder Mphwiyo outside the gate of his house in Lilongwe’s Area 43 residential estate on September 13 2013.

Manondo and Kumwembe were given 15 years prison terms for attempting to murder Mphwiyo.

Mphwiyo survived the bullets fired by assassins that lurked in the dark at the gate of his house. He was rushed to the Masm Clinic few blocks away from his house before being taken to Kamuzu Central Hospital. Days later, he was airlifted to South Africa.

However, Mphwiyo’s initial reputation as an anti-corruption crusader was dented by his own arrest on Cashgate-related charges which he is currently answering in court.

Legal commentary from barrister Allan Ntata

In their case, Mphwiyo was about to expose Kasambara’s role in the cashgate scandal and that was the motive behind the attempt on his life. But if this was the motive and the prosecution truly believe that this was the reason for Kasambara conspiring to murder Mphwiyo, why is the same prosecutor also accusing Mphwiyo of Cashgate related offences in a separate case also currently in the courts?

Are we to believe that Mphwiyo, the victim of a murder conspiracy and an attempt on his life for fighting Cashgate, is also its mastermind and instigator? It is a sad contradiction for the future as it may discourage other whistle-blowers.

A future potential whistle-blower may decide to keep their mouth shut for fear of being considered criminal masterminds!

If in our governance system, we allow for this kind of contradictory thinking to continue, it will be very difficult for the country to move forward, especially in matters of corruption and government malfeasance.

Those that are given the responsibility of safeguarding the country’s criminal justice system need to be more competent and more consistent in their thinking.

The Kasambara trial may have scored points for the government, but for me, it leaves a rather conspicuous governance sour taste in the mouth.

 

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Jarman
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Jarman

They want to silence guys who r brave.the only person we have n malawi who can fight these killaz dpp is ralph.everybody is scared.njauju tyle.make it look like accident.musiyeni ralph.anthu oyipa muli inu.anyani inu

wids
Guest
wids

how else did you expect Mwaungulu to rule. obviously he does not get surprised why Kasambara was making frequent calls at odd hours to the other accused. was it mere coincidence. one can conspire by mere communicating through a telephone call. if the law would allow, it was important to have the voices played and see what Kasambara and the other accused were discussing at odd hours. though he might have been meeting Thambo Mbeki but that would not stop him to call the other accused.

Whistleblower
Guest
Whistleblower

Komanso ku Malawi sitidzatheka. Supreme court case being determined by a single judge? Ayayaya

Tchopaman
Guest
Tchopaman

Misjudge Mtumbo must be an embarrassment to the institution that conferred him his degree. Persecutor Kachale a total disgrace. How can the two of them let their personal vendetta control their emotions and influence a court case. In civilised societies this conduct is more than enough to warrant a resignation. In conformity with modernity, I call upon these two to resign from sitting as a high Court judge and public prosecutor respectively with immediately effect. Let them serve in private practice not in a tax payer funded office. Times have changed. This time we must demand accountability on each and… Read more »

Keen Observer
Guest
Keen Observer

To be honest from the bottom of my heart, I’m happy for Kasambara. I think that there is something which judge Mtambo is not telling us. Kasambara palibe mulandu apa.

Mtumbuka wa biii
Guest

Shaaa mbava ija yatulukanso tiberedwe tsopano. Galu ameneyu bola akanangifera kundende komweko with his fellow hynas like Lutepo, Manondo etc.

Makolija
Guest
Makolija

Kikiki! Alowanso kape uyu and he will be more traumatised ! Osamangolubwalubwa!

Mwale
Guest
Mwale

Koma mwati Ntatayi ndi loya di?chitsilu chamunthu chenicheni.iwe ndithu ukuyikila kumbuyo mphwiyo mbava yachabe chabe ngati imeneyo.is because anakulemba nchito ngati advisor wake?
Galu

Chibet
Guest
Chibet

Tawonga ada Kasambala kuti mwatuwa. Ifwe tatonga tanyinu kosi ko tili tewalikondwa. Imwe mwakukamba mulamu mu chalu chidu cha Malawi, sambirani umampha kuzenga mulandu. Lekani kumanga wanthu ambula kunanga. Ntchinthu chamampha kufufuza dankha mwanadi mwengandatole munthu kumphala yamulandu. Nyengu sonu zikusintha, ankhungu ato galimoto la munthu ndikwachibiya. Phone nambala zawanthu watope kuchibiya panyaki kuchitiya zauchigewenga. Tiyeni tisaniyi nthowa zakukole wakubuda, nthowa yo mukwendapo ndinthowa yakali ukongwa. Musiyeni da Kasambala. Lekani kutole mwawi chifukwa mutinkha ifwe Tatonga.

Mtonga
Guest
Mtonga

Awa mwakamba vikulu ukongwa ada Chibeti. Isi taba tonga takondwa limu ndikutuwa kwinu ada a Kasambala. Soni zibako bena kodi kodi aba

Jailosi
Guest
Jailosi

Congratulations ADA Kasambara. You are a hero!!!!!!

Omex70
Guest
Omex70

Here wachani?

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