Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale yesterday told the High Court in Lilongwe that the State has had to move key witnesses because the defence started approaching them.
Kachale said this after second accused in the Paul Mphwiyo shooting, Pika Manondo, finished cross-examining Airtel Malawi radio network planning manager Kelvin Kuyeri.
At first, Kachale could not divulge details as to why she had applied for a rebuttal and further could not disclose the names of the witnesses.
When asked by both Manondo and the third accused, Ralph Kasambara, she said: “I did not want to say this but we have had instances where the defence had started to make contacts to these witnesses and that is why we have struggled to move them. The law [in Malawi] is not very elaborative on witness protection and the economy is not good.”
But Kasambara, a former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, still wanted to get the details on what the witnesses would testify on.
However, Kachale once again told the court that it was a rebuttal against the first accused, Macdonald Kumwembe, a former Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldier.
In his affidavit, Kumwembe said he was in Mozambique at the time Mphwiyo, then budget director in the Ministry of Finance, was shot outside the gate of his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe on September 13 2013.
The DPP asked presiding judge Michael Mtambo to grant them an application for rebuttal which the judge said he was inclined to grant. However, the judge asked both parties to prepare their applications orally before he could make a ruling.
Manondo and Kumwembe were found with a case to answer on the charge of conspiracy to commit murder. The two are also jointly charged with Kasambara on the charge of conspiracy to commit a crime.