Lawyer Justin Dzonzi says prosecution of Cashgate cases has been thrown into disrepute following claims that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the hired prosecutor, in the cases, forced a suspect-cum-witness to lie under oath.
Dzonzi’s sentiments follow recent allegations by businessperson Oswald Lutepo that DPP Bruno Kalemba, former Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Fahad Assani and hired prosecutor Kamudoni Nyasulu forced him to implicate Assani’s predecessor, Ralph Kasambara, and another private practice lawyer Wapona Kita.
In view of the development, Dzonzi argues that thorough investigations need to be undertaken to verify Lutepo’s claims “as suspects can easily forge statements to implicate others.”
Said Dzonzi: “Because it is their office that charges criminal offences, then there are allegations that their officers are the same people engaging in criminal conduct then this undermines the office.
“They cannot continue to charge people because the officers themselves are liable for prosecution, and if indeed the crime was committed, then it is a criminal offence and they stand to face the same charges being faced by Mr. Lutepo. It’s called aiding and abetting.”
According to Dzonzi, the office of the Attorney General in this case would decide on the next step depending on the findings of its investigations.
He said if it is a disciplinary matter it would need to be done whereas if it is criminal, the case would go back to the same office being accused, thereby aggravating circumstances.
Said Dzonzi: “If proven guilty, the DPP would have to be suspended because he acted in misconduct and conspired to lie.”
In an interview, Assani said he is waiting for relevant authorities to act on the allegations.
On the other hand, Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale could not respond to calls on action taken so far on Lutepo’s allegations of professional misconduct by the prosecutors and Assani.
On their part, both Kalemba and Nyasulu could neither deny nor admit the accusations levelled against them. The two told our sister newspaper, the Weekend Nation, that they would respond to the authorities with jurisdiction over the issue.
In the letter to the Attorney General, Lutepo claimed that in mid-December last year, he was summoned to meet Assani at his rural home in Nkhotakota where the former minister warned him against linking Cashgate to then president Joyce Banda, her family and the People’s Party (PP).
Lutepo, a former executive member of PP, came into the limelight when he was charged with various counts, including theft and money laundering of government funds amounting to K2.6 billion.
He was arrested in Kasungu on Sunday and charged with perjury. On Monday, Lutepo was taken to a hospital in Lilongwe where he was treated for stomach pains.