Two top Peoples Party (PP) strongmen gave gunshot survivor and former Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo 10 days to authorise payments or risk his life.
The two big shots are party’s Vice-President for the South Brown Mpinganjira and former party spokesperson Hophmally Makande.
Mphwiyo was testifying in court on Wednesday in a case in which car rental businessman Pika Manondo and former Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara and others have been arraigned for attempted murder.
The gunshot survivor also told the court that Manondo and another man identified as Gani only were being used as Kasambara errands’ boys to pressurise him to authorise payments of unnecessary bills to some companies.
“I have known Mr. Kasambara since my school days in Zomba in the mid 90s. One day he was also among the few who came to congratulate me after I was appointed Director of Finance.
“On that day, he told me that my appointment was a matter he influenced personally, a remark I took it as a joke,” he said.
Mphwiyo informed the court that most payments had been for some cases, which the state lost or were out-of-court settlements.
“Manondo had been to my house several times pressuring me to honour some payments prepared by Mr. Kasambara to the Treasury.
“With advice from the Secretary to the Treasury and consultations with former Attorney General Anthony Kamanga, we found that the payments were not supposed to be honoured,” he said.
Mphwiyo added that Manondo had threatened him he would hurt him and stage it all to look like a deal gone sour on account of his disobedience.
“At that time, Manondo appeared as someone who was very afraid of Mr. Kasambara,” said Mphwiyo, adding that he had been visited for more than 10 times at his home by Manondo and his brother Dauka.
After he had seen he couldn’t take the pressure any longer, Mphwiyo said he called and met with Kasambara at his home.
“Mr. Kasambara told me that there were visitors in his house so he jumped into my car and drove around for some minutes.
“I told him that I had been fed up with his threats and wasn’t the sort of a person who could be intimidated for doing the right thing. I told him none of his payments would go through,” he testified.
Mphwiyo added: “After that time, it was when Mr. Brown James Mpinganjira called me that he had been approached by Mr. Kasambara at the airport when they had gone to see off former president Dr Joyce Banda that because of my adamancy and refusal to honour the payments, I was given the 10-day ultimatum.”
He mentioned Glens Waterways and Deco Terrastone Joint adventure as some companies on a pay-off list.
Mphwiyo observed that after taking Kasambara head-on, the threats apparently stopped on to appear on the day he was shot.
He said on the day he was shot, Kasambara had sent Mphwiyo an SMS at 8.00 p.m. to meet at his home, but he had lied he was coming from Kasungu after being suspicious of the telephone text message he had read between lines.
That’s when he went out socialising with friends at Africana and Lounge Umthambi briefly, hours before he was shot.
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