The trial of the five people charged with attempted murder of former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo is expected to start on February 5.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Bruno Kalemba confirmed in an interview on Wednesday that his office was ready for the accused persons to take plea and formal charging after the expiry of 21 days notice to the lawyers.
The five, who are facing trial in the September 13 2013 shooting of Mphwiyo, are former Minister of Justice Ralph Kasambara, businessperson Pika Manondo, Dauka Manondo, Robert Kadzuwa and Macdonald Kumwembe.
The charges for the accused include attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the shooting which unravelled theft and corruption taking place within government.
“All the five suspects will appear in court together to take plea.
Disclosures have just been served and 21 days have to elapse so that is why dates for beginning of trial are in this second half of January,” Kalemba said.
Pika Manondo’s lawyer John-Gift Mwakhwawa has appealed to the Supreme Court of Malawi to overturn the High Court bail ruling in which his incarceration was extended by 50 days because he was deemed a flight risk.
Mwakhwawa, however, said he was not aware of the trial date and was waiting for communication from the office of the DPP.
High Court judge Justice Ivy Kamanga also said Manondo’s possession of unexplained cash in his bank account amounting to $184 000 seized from his First Merchant Bank (FMB) safe, was grounds to doubt his availability once trial starts.
Manondo remains in custody at Kasungu Prison while the rest of his fellow suspects were granted bail.