Tempered flared in the High Court Wednesday morning in the trial of attempted murder of former budget director Paul Mphwiyo between Director of Public Prosecution ( DPP ) Mary Kachale and third accused person in the conspiracy to commit murder, lawyer Ralph Kasambara a Senior counsel (SC).
It all started when the first accused person, former Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldier MacDonald Kumwembe had just finished cross examining cashgate prisoner Oswald Lutepo as his witness of truth and the DPP Kachale was taking her turn to cross examine him.
Kachale smiled and said it’s a bit difficult that she is cross examining him on the case though he is also her witness in other cashgate cases.
But before she finished the sentence and start questioning the witness, Kasambara furiously stood and raised an objection to Kachale’s line of question,
The former justice minister accused the DPP of prejudice.
“Objections my lord, madam DPP is misleading this court instead of going straight to the question, she is telling the witness that he is also her witness in other cashgate cases which is very unfair, what is she trying to say or tell the witness when responding to her questions?” queried Kasambara before Kachale had to come in to justify her statement.
Kasambara said: “No, no, my Lord, can madam DPP go straight to question than try to intimidate the witness in the dock.”
Judge Michael Mtambo then ruled in favour of Kasambara telling the state top prosecutor to go straight to her questions.
Kachale was also forced to withdraw her statement by the judge when she made reference to K55 million which Lutepo deposited to Ralph and Arnolds Associates as being made to Kasambara directly and that he instructed lawyer Wapona Kita to call Lutepo and testify in court as the owner of the cash which was found with cashgate convict Steven Sithole who was being represented by his law company.
Before Lutepo answered, Kasambara rose to object to the question.
“Madam DPP can you please be fair to this court and stop embarrassing this court and your office for heaven sake, you know that time your referring I was not practicing as I was the minister of Justice and Constitution affairs and Attorney General of the Malawi government and you were under me during that time and how could I issue instructions or represent the client in questions?” angrily Kasambara told Kachale.
Kachale tried to explain what he meant by the statement as she was referring to the law firm not him directly but Kasambara continued to question his involvement at that time as he was government official and couldn’t handle any client as a lawyer.
The DPP also asked Lutepo on the allegations that that he made in court that former deputy inspector general of police Nelson Bophani was forcing him to implicate some people including Kasambara and if that he knew that Bophani was arrested by Anti Corruption Bureau and one of the charges he is answering is in line with that of trying to prevent justice take its course.
Lutepo denied having any knowledge of Bophani’s arrest, saying he access to information is limited as he is in imprisoned.
Kasambara rose to ask the court to provide to them with the charge sheet for Bophani since it has come to their attention just like Lutepo and that they are interested to see it.
“My lord we ask her office to give us the charge sheet of Mr Bophani we want to see more especially me I will need it before I start cross examining the witness”, Kasambara told the court
Kachale said she was only making reference since Lutepo will also testify as its witness and withdrew her statement.
But Kasambara persisted to have the charge sheet. The judge ruled that they be served with the charge sheet of Bophani.
During cross examination between Kasambara and Lutepo, the cashgate told the court that he was intimidated that he will be charged with murder case against Mphwiyo as they showed him a sworn affidavit by one Charles Chalunda alleging that he (Lutepo) masterminded the shooting of Mphwiyo and that if he will not comply to twist the story and implicate Kasambara he was likely to be charge d with murder and spend the rest of life in prison
He told the court that he met with police officer Maurice Makwinja at his lawyer Jai Banda’s office where he was being told what to write as to suit what they wrote for Mphwiyo as well in implicating Kasambara.
Lutepo said he was told he will be a state witness and let free if he implicates Kasambara.
He also told the court that he wrote Attorney General and Government agency complaining against the behaviour of Bophani , former DPP Kalemba and others who forced him to lie against Kasambara soon after Joyce Banda lost the presidential elections as he knew he was safe since the said powerful men were no longer in charge.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :