Convicted former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ralph Kasambara and two others will have to wait a little longer before knowing the time-span of their custodial sentence.
The High Court has set August 22 as the date for hearing of submissions of mitigation factors before it can pass jail sentences.
Last Thursday, High Court judge Michael Mtambo convicted Kasambara alongside his two co-accused—Pika Manondo and Macdonald Kumwembe—on the charge of conspiracy to murder former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo.
Mtambo also found Manondo, a businessperson and Kumwembe, a former Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldier, guilty of attempted murder in relation to Mphwiyo’s shooting on September 13 2013 outside the gate of his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe.
Despite the guilty verdicts and committing the trio to prison, the judge reserved their custodial sentences.
Under the Penal Code, the offence of attempted murder carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment whereas conspiracy to commit murder attracts a maximum jail term of 14 years.
Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula, in an interview yesterday, said the court had set August 22 2016 for the presiding judge to hear submissions of both the State and the defence before making his ruling.
He further stated that the judge had directed the concerned parties—prosecution and defence—to exchange their submissions between August 16 and 22.
Immediately after his conviction, Kasambara hinted at the possibility of appealing against the verdict, but as of yesterday, no application on the same had been made, according to the Judiciary.
Mphwiyo’s shooting is widely believed to have exposed Cashgate, the systematic plundering of public resources at Capital Hill.
Former president Joyce Banda ordered a forensic audit undertaken by British firm Baker Tilly covering the period between April and September 2013 which established that about K24 billion ($33 million) was siphoned from public coffers.
Besides serving as minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Kasambara, now a private practice lawyer and senior counsel (SC), also served as Attorney General in the Banda administration. He also served in the first term of former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika as AG.