Former budget director at the Ministry of Finance Paul Mphwiyo wants judge presiding over the Cashgate case he is accused with 14 others, Esmie Chombo, to be out because her contract expired as a judge.
Mphwiyo is a Cashgate gunshot survivor who was shot at the gate of his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe on September 13 2013 during the administration of Joyce Banda.
Former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs under the Joyce Banda administration, Ralph Kasambara, businessperson Pika Manondo, Dauka Manondo, Robert Kadzuwa and McDonald Kumwembe were convicted and jailed on Mphwiyo’s attempted murder.
Kasambara was, however, released on bail from prison after he applied and fought for it pending appeal in the Supreme Court of his conviction and sentence.
Mphwiyo’s shooting opened a can of worms of what widely came to be known as Cashgate—the plundering of public funds at the seat of government, Capital Hill.
In the case, Mphiyo is being accused of embezzling the K2.4 billion public funds in 2013, with others also facing charges of conspiracy to defraud government, holding property of government, theft and money laundering that include David Bill Kandoje, Auzius Kazombo Mwale, Clemence Madzi, Roosevelt Ndovi, George N. Banda, Steve Likhuya Phiri, Michael Mphatso, Samuel Mzanda, Stanford Mpoola, Syphathy Chisale, Fatch Chiungano, Andrews Chilalika, Cecilia Ng’ambi and Ndaona Satema.
Two accused persons in the matter died; Maxwell Namata and Lumumba Karim.
Now the 15 have argued that Chombo had her contract expired as a judge.
They also complain that their trial was continuing in disregard of Covid-19 guidelines the Judiciary put in place, with the case running from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm in a room that holds over 20 people each day for weeks.