There was drama in court yesterday when hearing of the shooting case of former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo resumed as State and defence legal teams tussled over authenticity of call logs tendered as evidence.
It all started after defence lawyer Wapona Kita presented call logs to a prosecution witness, lead police investigator Kamkhwala Chilinda, to prove to the High Court that there was communication between two of the suspects—Raphael Kasambara and Pika Manondo—before and after the shooting of Mphwiyo at the gate of his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe on September 13 2013.
However, Chilinda, who took some minutes to respond, told the court the logs he presented to the court were originals obtained from Airtel Malawi and that the ones given to him yesterday had some pages missing.
Chilinda, who the defence team described as a stubborn witness, said police investigations established that different SIM cards were used, but for the same number.
He also told the court that some of the logs presented to him by the defence were faint with scribbles all over.
Chilinda told the court: ‘’I can’t see properly what numbers are being shown. They are faint and I think the service providers would be in a better position to clarify.”
His response prompted presiding judge Michael Mtambo to ask the State to provide the original call logs.
Responding on behalf of the prosecution, one of the hired prosecutors, Enock Chibwana, said: “Airtel Malawi may come in to testify in the case and will explain better on the issues surrounding the call logs.”
The defence lawyers also accused Chilinda of not telling the truth. The defence further said the facts Chilinda presented in court were contradictory to the caution statements by the suspects.
However, in his response, Chilinda said the court was better placed to determine the outcome.
Mtambo is expected to make a ruling on the State’s application to have the suspects’ bail revoked on suspicion that they are intimidating witnesses.
Three weeks ago, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale accused the defence in the case of employing ‘mafia-like operations’ to intimidate witnesses.
In the wake of the threats as earlier alleged by Kachale, the DPP asked the High Court to revoke bail for the suspects, except businessperson and politician Oswald Lutepo, who is yet to enter his plea and is bedridden.
Kachale also submitted recordings of two of the State witnesses who mentioned former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ralph Kasambara, the Manondo brothers—Dauka and Pika—and Macdonald Kumwembe as people who threatened them.
Kasambara described the application as personal persecution against him and attempts to delay the trial.
Last week, police in Lilongwe arrested Dauka Manondo, one of the suspects, on allegations of threatening witnesses, according to his lawyer Matthews Chizonde.