Prosecution on businessman Pika Manondo, who is charged with attempted murder of former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo, is fundamentally flawed, the defendant has claimed in court.
Manondo is answering charges of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder together with former Malawi Defence Force solider Macdonald Kumwembe while private practice lawyer Ralph Kasambara is answering the charge of conspiracy to commit murder.
Kumwembe, during the cross-examination on Manondo, tried to punch some holes in state witness evidence.
He asked Manondo to explain when the two knew each other and who introduced Manondo to him.
According to Manondo he was introduced to Kumwembe by Mphwiyo in Zomba way back before he was appointed Budget Director.
Manondo also told the court that he has been communicating with Kumwembe from way back and if the state produced call logs from January 2013 before Mphwiyo was appointed Budget Director, they were still talking.
He mocked the state that unless they say he was communicating with Kumwembe to kill other persons then since Mphwiyo was not budget director.
Manondo also discredited the Airtel call logs which placed him near Area 43 on 13 September 2013 when Mphwiyo was shot and that the call logs mostly captured his number being used near Silver Stadium but a call he made two minutes later captured him at Area 11.
He told the court that the prosecution had not offered any credible evidence on the charge of conspiracy to commit murder.
“The State has not brought any witness who has ever heard me discussing or agreeing to kill Mr Mphwiyo or any person,” said Manondo.
Manondo also said Mphwiyo’s security guard, in his testimony, did not mention him and also never identified Kumwembe or mentioned him as a shooter when he was testifying in court but only identified him as a shooter when they visited the crime scene.
Kumwembe also punched holes on the state for not conducting identification parade as it was supposed to be when Mphwiyo came from hospital so that he identify the shooter he saw on the gate.
But according to Manondo the state never conducted any identification parade except the one they did with his brother Dauka Manondo.
“Initially he didn’t identify you [Kumwembe] as the shooter. Mphwiyo said he recognised you from the newspaper,” Manondo said.
Kumwembe also questioned Manondo on the credibility of the lead investigator of the case detective Chilinda who he asked if he is not the same person whose statement contradict with Mphwiyo on the type of car that is reportedly to have chased Mphwiyo’s brother in law soon after the shooting with Mphwiyo saying it was a black Toyota D4D and Chilinda claiming it was a Mercedez Benz.
He also questioned Manondo if this is not the same person who threatened lawyer John Gift Mwakhwawa outside the court who was representing Manondo and that he apologised in court.
Manondo answered yes to both questions, saying indeed the credibility of the lead investigator was damaged and that he cannot be relied upon.
However, Director of Public Prosecution Mary Kachale objected to it, saying it’s the duty of the court to ascertain the credibility of a witness.
Taking his turn, Kasambara asked Manondo on call logs on how many mobile phones Manondo and him (Kasambara) had and frequently used between the period of 2012 and 2013.
Manondo told the court that he used to have three mobile phones, two connected to Airtel and one to TNM so too like Kasambara who had two Airtel phones and one TNM line.
He told the court that it’s surprising that the state only produced call logs of one line of Airtel and ignore call logs of TNM which the two have been using to communicate frequently on BBM and voice calls.
Manondo said there was lack of compelling evidence against him.
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