Former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ralph Kasambara has asked High Court judge Chifundo Kachale to recuse himself from presiding over a money laundering case involving him and five others.
In a letter addressed to the registrar of the High Court Lilongwe Registry, Kasambara said he wants the judge out because his wife, Mary Kachale, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), is prosecuting the K5.7 billion money laundering case.
This is the second time in under a month that the marital relationship between Kachale and the DPP has come under the spotlight.
The judge also refused to recuse himself from another case involving former minister of Finance Friday Jumbe, former minister of Sports Phillip Bwanali and former chairperson of the Sports and Culture Trust Fund Vincent Mpaluko.
In his letter dated April 9 2015 copied to the DPP, Kasambara, who is representing himself, wrote that the DPP cannot prosecute a matter before her own husband without offending the rules of natural justice.
Reads the letter in part: “We are instructed to advise that our clients are of the opinion that justice of the matter would require that your Lordship recuse yourself from hearing this matter that is being handled by the Director of Public Prosecutions who happens to be your wife. It is trite law that justice should not only be done, but seen to be done.
“Should your Lordship agree with our position, we request that this file be passed on to the judge president so as to allocate it to another judge.”
When the case came for hearing yesterday, Kasambara reiterated that from November 2014 he has been communicating with the DPP, which was a clear indication that she was in-charge of the case after the previous DPP, Bruno Kalemba, left office.
However, Kachale asked Kasambara to make a formal application to enable the State, represented by hired prosecutor EnockChibwana and Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) deputy director general ReyneckMatemba, to respond to the call for recusal.
Said the judge: “A mere letter is not adequate. There is a need to submit a properly prepared application for the State to respond on the same.”
After allowing Kasambara to make the application by way of a motion, Kachale maintained that his allegations should be supported by evidence in affidavits before he makes a determination on April 29.
The five other accused persons are private practice lawyer Wapona Kita, businessperson PikaManondo, Fletcher Kaizo, civil servant Roosevelt Ndovi and businessperson OswardLutepo.
Private practice lawyer Gift Nankhuni is representing Kita and Manondo, Kaizo’s counsel is ShadreckMhango while Ndovi is being represented by Andy Kaonga and they did not raise objections to Kasambara’s application for the judge to recuse himself.
In his ruling on a similar application, Kachale said throughout his judicial career, he had not handled a case in which his wife represented the State even as she served in the office of the DPP.