Former Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Raphael Kasambara on Tuesday accused the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) of blocking some of the witnesses called to appear before Lilongwe High Court Judge Michael Mtambo in the ongoing case of attempted murder of former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo.
Kasambara is jointly charged with former Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldier Macdonald Kumwembe on conspiracy to commit murder alongside businessperson Pika Manondo.
Kumwembe is also charged with attempted murder together with Pika Manondo during the shooting of Mphwiyo outside the gate of his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe on September 13 2013.
The trio pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Before morning recess, Kasambara brought to the attention of the court that the DPP had stopped former secretary to treasury Radson Mwadiwa, government chief secretary George Mkondiwa, a Mrs Juwawo and Mercy Kumbatira who were named by the second accused Pika Manondo from testifying in court.
“My Lord, the DPP has no powers to stop witnesses to come before the court to testify,” said Kasambara.
However, DPP Mary Kachale said the State prosecutors had problems with some witnesses which Manondo listed upon request by the court clerk.
“It transpired that when the second accused was disclosing his witnesses, the court clerk was not taking the names and he had to request him to list them after the court session.
“After analysing the list with the court reporter, it transpired that some of those listed were not among the witnesses the second accused named in court,” she said.
Added Kachale: “We want to put it on record that the State will be challenging before court the logic of calling some witnesses because the defence need to say why some of these witnesses are being called in relevance to the case.”
Judge Mtambo advised the defence on time management, saying it doesn’t need a lot of witnesses to establish a fact.
“As long as the defence has much liberty to call as many witnesses as possible, we should take it in mind that it doesn’t need a lot of the same to establish a fact, two or three are enough,” he said.
The case resumed with the fifth witness Sergeant Eaton Gani who was Kasambara’s bodyguard when he was minister of justice taking to the stand.
Mphwiyo’s shooting is believed to have exposed the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill that came to be known as Cashgate.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :