Mphwiyo case adjourned to Sept 22: Judge orders release of Kasambara, Manondo vehicles

The High Court in Lilongwe on Friday adjourned the case o f the attempted murder of former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo in which lawyer Ralph Kasambara, businessperson Pika Manondo, Dauka Manondo, Robert Kadzuwa and Macdonald Kumwembe are charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

The suspects have pleaded not guilty to charges.

Justice Michael Ntambo has adjourned the case to September 22, 2014 and it will run for three days.

Lead prosecutor Chibwana speaking to reporters outside court
Lead prosecutor Chibwana speaking to reporters outside court

Earlier, lead prosecutor Enock Chibwana has asked for the adjournment because the second prosecution witness, gun-shot survivor Mphwiyo is supposed to undergo routine medical check up in South Africa from August 18.

Chibwana said Mphwiyo returned home solely for the case and asked the court to reconvene on the third week of September.

But the defence led by Kasambara, who’s is representing himself,  objected to the date opting for the case to start earlier.

“Your Lord, the money for one of the accused is locked up with the police. If the case takes long, it will lose its value since there are
not interests added,” he said.

Police  broke into a safe deposit box at First Merchant Bank (FMB) belonging to Manondo where they retrieved US$184 000 (about K75 million) in cash.

Kasambara added that his Mercedes Benz and a Manondo’s Toyota Fortuner are also in the hands of the police so he was worried with their condition.

Chibwana told the court that the said vehicles will be used as exhibit in the case.

“But your Lord, the state can take photographs and use them in court as they have already set a precedence in using evidence,” chipped in Kasambara.

In his ruling, Judge Ntambo said the vehicles be released forthwith and photographs be taken to be used in court.

The Judge  has also ordered the prosecution to disclose all the documents related to the case to the accused persons and the defence to share with prosecution and related documents that will be relied in the case.

The state is still cross examining Mphwiyo in the case.

Mphwiyo, whose shooting unravelled a racket of theft and money laundering of public resources, amounting to K13 billion according to the forensic audit report, mentioned under oath that  Kasambara and lawyer Wapona Kita were behind his shooting outside his Area 43 house.

He identified Kumwembe as the one who pulled the trigger aimed at killing him.

The case was first assigned to  Justice Esmie Chombo but Kasambara and Manondo  asked the  judge to recuse herself based on comments she allegedly made that she was receiving pressure from unknown quarters over the shooting case.

The judge agreed to recuse herself based on the fears of the defence and Justice Mtambo from Blantyre High Court registry was allocated the case.

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