It never rains but pours for former Justice minister Raphael Kasambara who was on Monday rearrested on money laundering charges.
Kasambara, who is currently on bail on alleged attempted murder of former budget director Paul Mphwiyo, was arrested at his Area 10 residence in Lilongwe.
The police also confiscated Kasambara’s Mercedes Benz, registration NB4375, which police say was the vehicle used in the shooting of Mphwiyo.
Dressed in blue denim jeans, checked shirt and a dark blue jacket with sandals, the former minister looked relaxed and laughed off the charge, saying: “It’s a joke of a charge.”
According to Kasambara, the police, whose first attempt to arrest him failed due to an error on the warrant of arrest, arrived at his home at 5.30am on two vehicles, a white Land Cruiser, which towed the Mercedes Benz to Area 30, and a beige Toyota Corolla.
“Well it was just a small technical error, and then they corrected it,” he said.
Kasambara was taken to police headquarters in Area 30, before being transferred to Lilongwe Police Station in Area 3.
According the warrant of arrest, Kasambara is being charged with money laundering contrary to Section 35 of the Money Laundering Act.
The warrant reads that on July 26 last year, a cheque (number 000304) amounting to K55 000 000 from International Procurement System (IPS) was deposited into account number 021000009811 of Ralph and Arnolds; NedBank City Centre Lilongwe suspected to be stolen money.
In an interview at his Area 10 residence, Kasambara said the transaction was done when he was a Cabinet minister and was no longer associated with the law firm in question.
“The police should have done their research better before coming and arresting me. The transaction which they are arresting me for was done during the time I was minister and I declared that I was no longer involved in running the associates account, so how I can be held liable to a client’s accounts, that’s for the administration,” he said.
The cheque is said to have belonged to Pika Manondo, who wanted to buy a house and had contacted Ralph and Arnolds to assist him.
Malawi Police Service (MPS) spokesperson Rhoda Manjolo could not say if Kasambara will be released after questioning.
“He is still in our custody, yes, but I don’t know if he will sleep in our custody or he will be released,” she said.
This is the second arrest for Kasambara, who is expected to appear in court to answer charges of suspected murder of Mphwiyo next month.
In the morning, police also seized a camera belonging to Nation Publications Limited (NPL) photojournalist Thoko Chikondi in full view of the press, but it was later given back.