Malawi gov’t move in to derail Kasambara’s court order on phone records

Malawi government through the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Bruno Kalemba has challenged a court order which former Minister of Justice, Ralph Kasambara obtained from Blantyre Magistrate Court, demanding Airtel Malawi and Telekom Networks Limited (TNM) to furnish him with call log statements.

Kasambara – currently answering to attempt murder charge on the shooting on former Minister of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo –demanded the two companies to furnish him with call log statements for indicted businessman Oswald Lutepo and also that of Mphwiyo.

He accused the duo of intimidation and sought permission to privately prosecute them.

According to the court Order under Criminal Case 636 of 2013, Mphwiyo and Lutepo are ‘reasonably’ suspected of having committed offence of intimidation contrary to Section 88 (1) (a) of the Penal Code.

Director of Public Prosecution Bruno Kalemba :Blocks private prosecution
Director of Public Prosecution Bruno Kalemba :Blocks private prosecution

However, hours after Nyasa Times published the story, Kalemba wrote Kasambara’s lawyers in exercise of powers in prosecution of criminal matters, blocking the private prosecution and asking them to hand over the case docket to his office.

Kalemba’s letter: “Kindly furnish me with records of proceedings so far conducted for my perusal and further conduct. By copy of this letter, the attorney for the complainant is notified of this development and required to hand over the case docket in the matter to me.”

Kasambara’s lawyers of Ritz Law Firm confirmed that they furnished the case file to the top prosecutor who filed to court stopping the mobile phone operators from releasing the phone records until he studies the case file.

One of Kasambara’s lawyers, Lusungu Gondwe told Nyasa Times they have since handled the case file to the DPP who wants to take over the matter.

“The DPP wrote us today (Thursday) and we served them the copies of the case, but that does not mean we have consented to their decision,” said Gondwe.

He said was yet to meet his client on the way forward after witnessing their casing taken over by the State.

“I have to consult my client because as of now I don’t know if we will be allowed to even co-prosecute the case since it’s the DPP himself who has taken over the matter,” added Gondwe.

The DPP’s letter came at the time when Airtel Malawi and TNM are yet to furnish both Kasambara and the court with the call log statements.

Kalemba could not answer his phone on several occasion as Nyasa Times attempted to have his comment on the issue.

However, Kasambara’s legal team strongly believes the call logs are of material significance as they will prove who Mphwiyo and Lutepo were talking to on the night of the shooting –September 13.

They argued that the move by DPP is “suspicious” as to why he is interested in preventing the call logs from being released.

Nyasa Times editorial directors in UK through its undercover agents have managed to source some of the phone records.

In the order, issued by Senior Resident Magistrate, Viva Nyimba, TNM and Airtel are being demanded to furnish the court and Kasambara with Mphwiyo and Lutepo’s call logs on seven listed numbers for a period between 1st June 2013 to 30th 2013.

Lutepo, currently on bail, has been charged with theft contrary to Section 278 of the Penal Code and money laundering contrary to Section 35 (1)(c) of the Money Laundering, Proceeds of Serious Crime and Terrorist Act.

He is suspected to have siphoned K2.6 billion of public funds and is one of the suspects in what is now called Capital Hill cashgate where billions of kwacha were looted.

Kasambara is currently answering to conspiracy to murder of Paul Mphwiyo who was shot outside his residence in Area 43 a low density suburb in Lilongwe on September 13, 2013.

Police are suspecting Kasambara “master minded” the shooting of Mphwiyo, now moved to Office of President and Cabinet (OPC), who escaped death with the gun shots.

He has 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.

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