Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal is on Friday set to rule on a September 22 application by Macdonald Kumwembe against his sentencing of four months imprisonment with hard labour (IHL) on contempt of court charges.
This follows submissions made in camera on Monday by the State and the defence after appearing before appeal judge Lovemore Chikopa.
However, all the parties—the defence, office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Judiciary—remained tight-lipped on the arguments presented to the court in their submissions. They argued it would be unprofessional to divulge details as the matter was before an appeal judge.
Said DPP Mary Kachale: “We will not explain what transpired in court today because now the matter has been put before the justice of appeal, so it would be subjudice to speak about what happened there.
“But we can say after the parties made their submissions the court has advised us that it will make its ruling on Friday. However, we are not going to come and appear again the court will deliver by just giving us the written ruling.”
Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula also declined to divulge details of the arguments contained in the submissions saying “the details and other facts would be contained in the ruling on Friday.”
However, Kumwembe, a former Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldier, is seeking a stay of proceedings of the lower court’s criminal case before High Court judge Michael Mtambo and the stay of his sentence and conviction on the contempt of court charge pending determination of his appeal against the sentences.
The convict is also answering charges of conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder of former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo alongside former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Raphael Kasambara.
Last week, the DPP sought guidance from the same court on whether Kasambara should be allowed to represent his co-accused Kumwembe.
But Mvula said yesterday that after Chikopa studied the case he referred it to judge-in-charge Edward Twea to assign a judge because he believed the case is different and it will be treated independently.