The Supreme Court of Appeal in Blantyre has granted bail to former Justice Minister, Ralph Kasambara who had appealed against Lilongwe High Court’ ruling to keep him in custody for 30 more days despite granted bail.
The Supreme Court of Appeal in Blantyre ruled in Kasambara’s favour, upholding all bail conditions set by the lower court except the 30 days and 14 days conditions, which were the main issue in contention.
Among the bail conditions set by Justice Esme Chombo, Kasambara is required to provide K500,000 bail bond-cash-provide two sureties bonded at K200,000 each.
He is required to report to Mzuzu police station once a week after the Supreme Court changed the earlier stipulation that required him to report to Lilongwe police station.
And has been asked to surrender all his traveling documents and is required to seek permission from court if intends to travel. There was jubilation outside the Supreme Court as Kasambara’s sympathizers celebrated his triumph against the State’s denial of releasing him on bail.
Justice Esme Chombo a fortnight ago granted Kasambara bail but postponed it for 30 more days after the State asked for more time to conclude its investigations.
Kasambara, through his attorneys, Lusungu Gondwe, Jonathan Kara and Modikayi Msiska had argued that it was illogical to incarcerate him for 30 more days, and asked the court to reverse it.
They also pleaded with the Supreme Court to consider their application based on evidence from medical experts that Kasambara is ill.
Ruling over the matter in chamber, Justice Anaclet Chipeta struck out the 30 days and 14 days conditions set by the High Court on argument that there was no evidential basis to postpone the bail.
Justice Chipeta, who took over the case after Justice Andrew Nyirenda recused himself, also argued that State had failed to provide material substantiating its arguments in the case, saying “right to liberty requires one to have the right to be free unless there is good reason to take away that liberty.
In an interview, Senior Counsel, Msiska said were satisfied with the ruling and that were currently working securing sureties who will be verified by the Registrar of the High Court.
“The bail conditions were already set by the High Court in Lilongwe but the Registrar will also determine on what conditions to be maintained or removed,” said Msiska.
But Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Bruno Kalemba seemed not satisfied with the ruling, hinting that they will file for an appeal once they review the judgment.
Kalemba said the case was presided over by one judge and would therefore appeal and seek a decision of not less than three judges.
Kalemba said: “The State is obvious going to read the written judgment and decide on what step to take; suffice to say, this is the rule of law in action. All players must play the rules, and the State will play the rules”.
Kasambara, who has been suspended as the ruling Peoples Party (PP) Legal Advisor, was charged with attempted murder of Budget Director, Paul Mphwiyo who was shot outside his residence in Area 43 a low density suburb in Lilongwe on September 13, 2013.
Kasambara was dropped in October from cabinet by President Joyce Banda in what sources say was to pave way for investigations following the attempted murder of budget director, Mphwiyo.
Police are suspecting Kasambara “master minded” the shooting of Mphwiyo who escaped death with the gun shots.
He has since named President Joyce Banda, a State House official Cecilia Kumpukwe (a sister to President Banda), Minister of Information Brown Mpinganjira and PP’s spokesman Hophmally Makande as some of his witnesses in the case.
President Banda is on record as publicly saying the shooting of the budget director was linked to his efforts to fight corruption.
But in a twist of events, President Banda later categorically denied having any knowledge or having said that she knows the people behind the shooting of her purportedly acclaimed corruption-buster Mphwiyo.
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