Kasambara arrested, Manondo says he misled him to implicate JB in Malawi cash-gate

Former Justice Minister Ralph Kasambala has been arrested  Friday morning after Pika Manondo, who handed himself over to the police at Songwe Border in Karonga on Thursday, disclosed Kasambara has been “pestering” him to implicate President Joyce Banda in the infamous ‘Cash-gate’ scandal.

Malawi Police Service (MPS) deputy national spokesperson Kelvin Maigwa confirmed Kasambara is under arrest and that Police were “interrogating him”.

Justice Minister Fahad Assani also confirmed Kasambara was  arrested “early this morning [Friday] after a search for him yesterday,”

The arrest of one of Malawi’s most influential and controversial lawyers comes barely a week after police stormed his residence at Area 10 in the Capital Lilongwe.

Kasambara: Arrested

Police said they were looking for a vehicle suspected to have been used by Pika Manondo, the man believed to have shot Mphwiyo outside the gate of his Area 43 house in Lilongwe.

During the operation, police checked Kasambara’s cars, generators and other property in the compound.

The ex-minister is strongly linked to be an accomplice of Manondo, who handed over himself to police Thursdayafternoon after being in hiding.

A police officer at Kaporo Police who was part of the team that interrogated Manondo at Songwe told Nyasa Times that Manondo pleaded with the police to ‘protect’ him from Kasambara, alleging he wants to ‘eliminate’ him.

“He said, emphatically, that he is a dead person should he be set free. He alleged that Kasambara was the top mastermind of the ‘Cash-gate’ scandal and that he feared being exposed hence he is out to ‘eliminate’ anyone named to be involved in the scandal.”

The police officer also said Manondo revealed that allegations that President Banda was involved in the scandal were the work of Kasambara, now dubbed ‘Cash-gate Godfather’.

“He said whatever he told Nyasa Times was not true and that it was Kasambara who had forced him to say it. Manondo told the police that Kasambara threatened to ‘deal’ with him should he refuse to implicate the President,” said the officer, declining to be named.

Nyasa Times had reported earlier on Thursday that Manondo had named President Banda as having been personally involved in the looting of public funds at Capital Hill.

In telephone interview from an unknown place, Manondo had alleged that the President was well aware of what was going on in as far as the ‘Cash-gate’ scandal was concerned.

“The idea was to blackmail the President and her Government to halt any investigations on Kasambara and other suspects. Please protect me,” Manondo is quoted by the police officer as having pleaded.

When contacted before his arrest Kasambara told Nyasa Times: “From word go I have refused to comment on these stories. The truth is that I did not tell or feed Pika to say anything. I did not send him abroad. Neither did I ask him to come back or implicate anyone. We shall soon know the truth.”

Asked to comment on the allegations Manondo had earlier made. Presidential Press Secretary Steven Nhlane said “the State President instituted investigations on the shooting of the budget director and looting at Capital Hill. These investigations are underway. We shall wait upon the conclusion of these investigations.”

The budget director was dreadfully shot three times as he entered his residence on September 13, 2013 and was airlifted to South Africa for advanced treatment where he is still recuperating.

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