Kasambara’s bail appeal ruling Monday, State concludes investigations

The Supreme Court of Appeal in Blantyre will on Monday make its ruling on former Justice Minister, Ralph Kasambara’ appeal against Lilongwe High Court’ ruling to keep him in custody for 30 more days despite granted bail.

Lilongwe High Court, Justice Esme Chombo granted the former Justice minister bail but was forced to incarcerate him for 30 days following the State’s application for more time to conclude its investigations where Kasambara was implicated in the attempted murder of Treasury budget director Paul Mphwiyo.

Kasambara, through his attorneys, Lusungu Gondwe, Jonathan Kara and Mordecai Msiska filed an appeal against the decision, arguing it is illogical 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.

Kasambara (L) with his lawyer Emmanuel Theu when he appeared before the High Court

Justice Anaclet Chipeta, Friday morning, deferred the ruling to Monday afternoon after hearing arguments from both the State and defence counsels in the chamber.

Justice Chipeta presided over the case after Justice Andrew Nyirenda recused himself from the bail appeal application on grounds that he hails from the same district as the accused person.

But Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Bruno Kalemba defended Judge Chombo’s decision, arguing the stipulated bail conditions were in order and legal.

“He is on bail but will only become operational after 30 days. That condition is legal and in order; the court has that mandate to set out such conditions to ensure that the interest of justice are safeguarded. Courts in Malawi have once given bail with such conditions. It’s not new phenomena,” explained Kalemba in an interview outside court.

Kalemba said the State was almost done with investigations, which was one of prime reasons why Kasambara is under custody, and would soon commerce trail on the matter.

Kasambara, who was arrested on November 8 in Lilongwe, was linked to the shooting of Mphwiyo, an incident which opened a can of worms that led to revelations that billions of taxpayers’ money was systematically siphoned from Capital Hill in Lilongwe.

He is currently being held on remand at Zomba Maximum Security.

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.

Police are suspecting Kasambara “master minded” the shooting of Mphwiyo who escaped death with the gun shots.

The former Justice Minister 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.

Kasambara told journalists after the case was committed to the High Court that his case is a sham and it would go nowhere.

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