The High Court in Lilongwe on Wednesday reinstated lawyer Raphael Kasambara’s bail conditions in a case in which he is accused of conspiring to murder former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo.
Kasambara had his bail conditions reinstated together with those of McDonald Kumwembe after staying in police custody for five and four months, respectively.
Last month, the two applied to the court for bail, arguing that being in prison prevented them from interviewing their witnesses and defending themselves as they were denied access to computers and internet for research.
High Court Judge Michael Mtambo said apart from the bail conditions they had to observe at the time it was revoked, the two are also expected to adhere to two new bail conditions.
“This court finds that it is appropriate that the accused’s bail be restored to its original status and that bail conditions will remain the same as when the ruling was being made of its revocation, and the additional conditions are that the accused should not grant interviews to media and should also display interest to see the case continued earnestly and concluded in good time,” he said.
Bail for the first accused, McDonald Kumwembe, who is allegedly regarded as Mphwiyo’s shooter was revoked five months ago while that of third accused Kasambara was revoked four and a half months ago following an application by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale.
Kachale accused the two of threatening the security of the judge.
Kachale said after the ruling that she did not have problems with the decision of the court.
She said: “When it comes to the interest of justice, the custodians are the court. The judge is of the view now that it weighs in favour of releasing the accused persons because all this time the case has progressed so well that we are going towards the final conclusion. They can go so that they can start preparing for their defence outside.”
The first accused Kumwembe saw his bail revoked following his application for the recusal of the judge after his ruling found him with a case to answer. The application revealed some details about the judge’s movements.
Kasambara’s bail was revoked on grounds that he was not showing interest to have the case concluded in time through applications for the judge to recuse himself.
The application to have their bail reinstalled was opposed by the State which argued that there were still threats to the judge.
But Justice Mtambo underlined that the overriding matter was to have the case concluded and not concerns over security.
He said: “This court is not concerned over the judge’s security matter because the issue of security is always in God’s hands, so the overriding matter is to see the case concluded in good time without any delays.”