The High Court in Lilongwe has set April 3 for hearing a bail application for convicted former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ralph Kasambara and two others pending an appeal against their conviction.
Kasambara alongside MacDonald Kumwembe and Pika Manondo were convicted after being found guilty of conspiracy and attempt to murder former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo.
The trio, who have spent eight months at Zomba Central Prison, have since filed an appeal against their conviction.
In the appeal, the trio, among others, argues that High Court judge Dr Michael Mtambo erred in sentencing them based on phone call logs and that based on the pending appeal, they want the court to release them on bail.
In the court documents The Nation has seen and filed by their lawyers, Messrs Gobz & Rechtswissenschaft, the three argue that it would be in the interest of justice that they be granted bail.
In affidavits in support of the bail application, Kasambara, Manondo and Kumwembe argued that they have permanent places of residence and strong ties within the jurisdiction of the court, that when granted bail previously, they did not evade trial and complied with all the relevant conditions.
In his affidavit, Kasambara argued that he has a right to bail pending appeal subject only to interests of justice, saying that prior authorities connecting bail pending appeal to special or exceptional circumstances are erroneous.
It reads: “They have no contemporary legal support. Both the Constitution and the Supreme Court of Appeal Act [the SCA] frown upon these authorities.”
In August 2016, Mtambo sentenced Kasambara to 13 years imprisonment for conspiring to murder Mphwiyo outside the gate of his house in Lilongwe’s Area 43 residential estate on September 13 2013.
Manondo and Kumwembe were given 15 years prison terms for attempting to murder Mphwiyo.
Mphwiyo’s shooting is widely believed to have exposed Cashgate, the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill.