A case involving former minister of Justice Ralph Kasambara and others who are accused of the attempted assassination of former budget director Paul Mphwiyo took a new twist on Tuesday when lead investigator Superintendent Kankhwala Chilimba accepted that he lied to the court.
In his testimony, Chilinda who had put across damning evidence linking several of the accused persons in the shooting of Mphwiyo at the gate of his Area 43 residence on September 13 2013 told the court that Kumwembe was tried and convicted of armed robbery charges by Machinga Magistrate Court.
During cross examination on Tuesday, defence lawyer Wapona Kita brought documents before High Court Judge Michael Mtambo which showed that Kumwembe was not convicted.
A letter dated September 21, 2004 by First Grade Magistrate Jones PG Masula addressed to Zomba 93 Brigade Cobbe Barracks showed that Kumwembe pleaded not guilty to an attempt robbery charge.
“Upon full hearing. This court acquitted him on this charge whilst others who were jointly charged with him were convicted and sentenced to five years imprisonment,” reads the letter in part.
“In view of this, I am advising you that Mr Macdonald Kumwembe is a free man and has not been found guilty as suspected,” the letter says as it was read in court by Chilinda himself.
Another letter from Malawi Defence Force legal officer Captain CS Mwale dated December 14, 2004 to MDF headquarters states that the junior Non-Commissioned Officer Kumwembe was tried and acquitted by a
court of competent jurisdiction.
It further states that according to section 127(1) (a) of the defence force act “Where a person subject to Military law under this Act, has been tried for an offence by a competent civil court, he shall not be liable in respect of that offence to have the case dealt with summarily by his commanding officer of the appropriate superior authority.”
“We therefore advise that the said soldier should not be discharged as there is no legal basis for such action. Action to the contrary may result in a civil suit against us (MDF) for wrongful dismissal…” reads part of the communication.
Asked if he knows that he lied under oath, Chilinda at first insisted that he only told the court that Kumwembe was arrested for armed robbery.
It took Judge Mtambo intervention to remind Chilinda that he even told the court that Kumwembe had been convicted for robbery in 2005. and given a suspended sentence.
“My Lord, maybe it was the slip of the tongue or even an ignorance of the law,” Chilinda said.
The prosecution, led by the Director of Public Prosecution Mary Kachale, paraded Chilinda as the 11th State witness and leav investigator.
Chilinda tendered a revolver which was allegedly to be used in an initial attack.
He told the High Court in Lilongwe that the initial plan was not executed because he foiled it in its initial stages.
Chilinda said the gun was supposed to be used by Maxwell Chalunda who was allegedly hired to shoot Mphwiyo. Chalunda surrendered the gun when he was arrested in connection with the shooting.
The investigator also submitted call logs of the accused—Kasambara, Pika Manondo, MacDonald Kumwembe and Dauka Manondo—which indicated they were in contact on the day of the shooting and two days later.
He also submitted to the court about K2 million and $3 000 that he collected from Kumwembe and K12 000 from Chalunda during the investigations.
Mphwiyo’s shooting on September 13, 2013 outside his house in Lilongwe opened a can of worms that led to the revelation of Cashgate, in which public officers, politicians and businesspersons looted billions of taxpayers money.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :