Judges orders release of Mphwiyo call logs

The High Court in Lilongwe has ordered the Director of Public Prosecutions  (DPP) to release recordings of mobile phone conversations( call logs) in which some people are said to have issued former Malawi Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo with death threats.

Judge Michael Mtambo made the order Thursday morning following an application by the defense lawyers in the case involving former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ralph Kasambara and businessman Pika Manondo suspected of plotting to kill Mphwiyo on July 17, 2013 .

The judge said the call logs should be released within seven days along with statements police recorded from people who explained events of the day Mphwiyo was shot at his Area 43 residence.

Gun-shot survivor Mphwiyo
Gun-shot survivor Mphwiyo

Before the accused took plea, defence lawyer Wapona Kita argued that his clients could not stand fair trial if they are not furnished with call logs and statements by witness.

Kita wants statements from key witnesses Hophmaly Makande, lawyer Joseph Chiumia and George Tchuka’s guard who is a neighbour to Mphwiyo.

Kalemba, prosecuting, said the state will provide the call logs and statements within seven days.

“We will have to see which numbers the defence are interested with, if we have the logs then we will hand them over to our collegues and we will have to prepare fresh warrants for those we don’t have,” he said.

Kita said the defence will be able to prepare the case seven days thereafter.

In January,  Kasambara successfully obtained the High Court order that compelled  two telecommunication companies TNM and Airtel to provide to him call logs to enable him to prosecute businessman Oswald  Lutepo and Mphwiyo privately on charges of intimidation.

But Kalemba blocked the private prosecution and took up the matter to prosecute the two on charges of intimidation and he asked the two mobile companies to hand over the call logs to his office.

Despite the developments, Lutepo and Mphwiyo applied to court for the order that compelled TNM and Airtel to release their phone call logs vacated, arguing the data Kasambara was looking for from service providers was data that the complainant’s own telecommunication service providers must be keeping and could access it from there.

They believe the order was entirely unnecessary and an infringement on their privacy.

Lutepo is one of the key suspects in the infamous Capital Hill cashgate scandal where billions of public funds were systematically stolen through bogus payments for goods or services not provided.

The scandal led to budgetary support freeze by donors.

Kasambara was arrested in November last year for allegedly attempting to murder Mphwiyo who was shot at the entrance of his residence in Lilongwe.

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