No relief yet for Kasambara, others in Paul Mphwiyo attempted murder case as Supreme Court reserves ruling

Private proactive lawyer and former Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Ralph Kasambara, McDonald Kumwembe and Pika Manondo are yet to breath a sigh of relief after the Supreme Court of Appeal sitting in Lilongwe on Thursday, March 31, 2022 reserved its ruling to have their conviction in the case of attempted murder of former budget director Paul Mphwiyo in September 2013.

The three sought the country’s highest court’s relief against their conviction and applied for bail pending the conclusion of the appeal case.

Manondo (L) and Kumwembe outside the court on Thursday, March 31, 2022.

Among others, defence insists that there was inadequate evidence against the accused to warrant conviction and therefore wants the conviction quashed.

A panel of seven judges, led by Justice Healey Potani, reserved its ruling after hearing arguments from both sides.

Michael Goba-Chipeta, lawyer for the second and third accused, Kumwembe and Manondo, stood by his ground and told the court that he was of the view that the state state is failing to “substantiate facts of the case” and thus pleaded with the court to quash the conviction.

But the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Steve Kayuni, believes that there is enough evidence to uphold the conviction.

Kasambara, who is considered one of the country’s brilliant legal minds, was on March 14, 2018 released on bail by Supreme Court of Appeal Justice Dunstain Mwaungulu.

Justice Mwaungulu could, however, not release Kasambara’s co-accused – Manondo and Kumwembe – on bail.

In granting Kasambara bail, Mwaungulu said the High Court ruling was contradicting in that it found Kasambara guilty of conspiracy to murder but acquitted him of attempted murder based on the same evidence.

Mwaungulu also argued that basing the conviction on call logs was wrong as the people involved in the calls could have been discussing other things.

The shooting of Mphwiyo opened a can of reports of massive plunder of government money at Capital Hill dubbed cashgate.

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