Former minister of Justice Ralph Kasambara and fellow private practice lawyer Wapona Kita took their time in witness box to discredit State witness businessman Oswald Lutepo in a case where 27-year-old Victor Sithole who is accused of being found in possession of large amounts of money, including $31 800 and 122 400 South African rand in cash in his vehicle and house in September last year.
Lutepo, who is also answering charges of theft and money laundering involving K1.2 billion, in a previous curt appearance testified at the Lilongwe Magistrate’s court that Kasambara forced him to sign court documents to claim that the K122 million cash found in Sithole’s possession belonged to him.
He said he knew Kasambara as his legal adviser although he mostly dealt with another lawyer Wapona Kita, who worked in Kasambara’s law firm.
But when the court summoned the two lawyers to testify in the case Tuesday, they confirmed knowing Lutepo in various capacities, among them as his lawyers, but denied forcing the businessperson to sign court documents, claiming ownership of the money found in Sithole’s possession.
In his testimony, Kasambara branded Lutepo a “perfect liar”.
He told the court: “I don’t have any knowledge of that money or any money, but I know that amount is being mentioned everywhere in newspapers [online news and social media] and radios.”
The former Justice Minister confirmed that he knew Lutepo as his client at his law firm before he was appointed minister of Justice, as a businessperson but also each other as members of the People’s Party (PP) National Executive Committee.
“I never had any discussion with Lutepo as regards the money. Mr Lutepo is a perfect liar,” Kasambara testified in court.
Kita in his testimony also disputed Lutepo claims that he coerced him into claiming K112 million in the custody of police.
He told the court that acting on instructions from Sithole, who was his client when he was arrested in September 2013, he contacted Lutepo to go and claim his money, not that he was forced to claim it as Lutepo alleged.
Kita testified that Sithole told him the money belonged to Lutepo and was meant for buying maize.
In his attempt to further discredit Lutepo’s testimony, Sithole’s lawyer, Kalekeni Kaphale, wondered how the business could have entered into a bond with the court claiming the money knowing he would have to return it if recalled.
Meanwhile, the defence lawyers asked the court to order the Anti-Corruption Bureau to release records of Lutepo’s statement which the court granted the order.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :