Manondo refuses to be state witness: Lutepo bail hearing next week over Malawi cashgate

Key suspect in the shooting of Treasury budget director Paul Mphwiyo, Pika Manondo is said to have turned down offers from Deputy Police Inspector General Bophani to become state witness in the matter.

Manondo’s lawyer Gift Mwakhwawa has been to see his client and the police have not interrogated him.

His lawyer said Manondo has not made any sworn-affidavit, saying no police officer had formally interrogated him.

Malawi Police Service have already arrested Manondo’s brother, Duka Manondo and other three people in connection with Mphwiyo’s shooting. The three are McDonald Kumwembe, Robert Kadzuwa and Charles Chalonda.

Manondo: Key suspect

In Lilongwe, Police were yet to question Ralph Kasambara, who became justice minister last year and was replaced in a cabinet reshuffle last month, amid a campaign by President Joyce Banda to root out graft at the highest levels of government.

Kasambara’s lawyer Manuel Theu from Lexon and Lords said the police has not interrogated his client.

“He is at Kanengo Police. He was not arrested in Mzuzu. He was in Area 10 when police came to ask him to accompany them to Kanengo police. He drove himself to the police in his white Fortuner. No police officer has interrogated him up to now,” he said.

Kasambara himself said: “It is not true that Pika has implicated me. So far no one has interrogated me,”  adding “Though state isgiving Pika and Lutepo VIP treatment, the duo have refused to implicate me.”

Police spokesman Kelvin Maigwa said Kasambara and Manondo will be formally charged in court, likely on Monday after investigators question them.

“We have gathered evidence which suggests that Mr. Kasambara was involved in the shooting,” Maigwa said. He provided no further details.

The 37-year-old budget director, Paul Mphwiyo, was shot as he drove into his residence in a suburb of Lilongwe. Banda said the shooting was linked to his campaign against corruption in state institutions.

Meanwhile, ruling People’s Party official Oswald Lutepo will remain in the hands of police after High Court in Zomba adjourned bail hearing for businessperson and to Tuesday, November 12.

Lutepo surrendered to police on Wednesday, and on Thursday pleaded not guilty to charges of committing offences of money laundering at the First Grade Magistrate’s Court in Zomba.

His was committed to the High Court in Zomba where his lawyer, Jai Banda, lodged a bail application.

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