Chief Secretary to the Government George Mkondiwa on Thursday testified in a case where three people are accused of conspiring and attempting to murder former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo.
During cross-examination by former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Raphael Kasambara, the court heard that on September 13 2013, before Mphwiyo was shot, Kasambara was in Salima attending a meeting on Lake Malawi border dispute between Malawi and Tanzania.
In his questions, Kasambara apparently wanted to establish that during the afternoon hours, he, together with his son, were in Salima as opposed to earlier testimonies which said his son was at Lilongwe Golf Club.
But in response, Mkondiwa said: “Yes, we were in Salima and I saw your son and talked to him, but I can’t say if it is the same son because I don’t know how many sons you have.”
During another cross-examination with director of banking and currency management at Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM), Mercy Kumbatira, who in September 2013 wrote to fiscal police that government was over-spending, Kasambara wanted to ascertain that expenditure registered at RBM was mainly due to Mphwiyo’s recklessness and that Mphwiyo was also involved in other malpractices such as purchasing arms without the knowledge of relevant officials.
In her response, Kumbatira stood by his affidavit that the meeting on September 9 2013 was held to enable Mphwiyo to explain why between the months of July and August, government spent more than usual.
She said: “During the meeting, Mphwiyo admitted that there were some arrears which had been paid and some firearms which had been purchased without following procedures.”
Earlier, former minister of Information and Civic Education Brown Mpinganjira, who was mentioned in Mphwiyo’s affidavit as having issued threats to force a payment, told the court in camera that he will appear next week because he was not ready.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale said: “Next week, we will have Honourable Brown Mpinganjira and the defence has also asked for convict Osward Lutepo to testify. We have no problem with that.”
Despite former Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldier Macdonald Kumwembe, one of the three accused persons, calling for former secretary to the Treasury Radson Mondiwa, the defence backtracked on the move and instead chose Lutepo.
Presiding judge Michael Mtambo told the court he hopes to conclude the case next week.
Kasambara is accused of conspiring to murder Mphwiyo alongside Kumwembe and businessperson Pika Manondo who also face a separate charge of attempting to murder the former budget director.
Mphwiyo’s shooting at the gate of his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe is believed to have exposed Cashgate, the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill. n