Convicted former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ralph Kasambara will have to wait longer for his appeal bid as the State has asked failed to meet the deadline to to submit skeletal arguments at the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal by June 27 2018, asking for about three months (90 more days).
The former minister of Justice and Attorney General Ralph Kasambara and others are appealing sentences and convictions in the attempted murder of former budget director Paul Mphwiyo.
Kasambara, who had been in prison for one year and seven months but was granted bail by Justice Dunstain Mwaungulu in March, is appealing the conviction and sentencing for conspiring to murder, while former Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldier Mcdonald Kumwembe and businessperson Pika Manondo were convicted of attempted murder.
State prosecutors have told the court that they were prosecuting what they termed “a very complex Cashgate case” involving Mphwiyo and 18 others.
“We are of the humble view that a period of 90 days from to date hereof would be a more appropriate time for the State to be given to prepare and file skeletal arguments in this matter,” reads court application by State prosecutor Enock Chibwana
The application will be heard on July 10 2018.
In granting bail, Mwaungulu observed that there seemed an apparent contradiction on finding Kasambara not guilty of the attempted murder charge and finding him guilty of the conspiracy to murder.
Said the judge: “The prosecution case, on the same evidence, against the appellant’s attempted murder charge based on that the third appellant agreed to commit the crime—the third appellant, as procurer or conspirator, was a principle offender.
“In effect, the third appellant [Kasambara] was acquitted as principal because he never conspired or procured the crime. A finding later that there was a conspiracy cannot be explained on the general principle that a conspiracy is treated differently from the substantive crime—or its failed attempt.”
The judge also observed earlier that the sentences passed were close to maximum and, in context, were passed against first offenders, adding the sentences were likely to be reduced.
The judge said the lower court wrongly based its findings on call logs, arguing they may have been discussing several other issues apart from what the State linked them to.
Kasambara, who served as minister during the administration of Joyce Banda, was given a 13-year jail term by High Court judge Michael Mtambo for conspiracy to murder in a crime linked to a multi-billion kwacha corruption ring.
The High Court also convicted and sentenced Pika Manondo and McDonald Kumwembe to 15 years each for attempted murder of Mphwiyo who survived gun wounds, an incident that led to the revelation of the corruption scandal widely known as Cashgate.
Mphwiyo’s shooting on September 13 2013 at his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe exposed Cashgate, the wanton plunder of public funds at the Capital Hill where billions of kwacha were abused.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :