Former budget director Paul Mphwiyo has told the High Court that State prosecutors pressured him to sign affidavits implicating convicts of attempted murder on his life in 2013 including former justice minister Ralph Kasambara.
However, Mphwiyo has not indicated whether the alleged pressure by the State forced him to sign affidavits which were false and was against his will.
Kasambara was sentenced to 13 years in prison while co-accused Macdonald Kumwembe and Pika Manondo were given 15 years sentences each last year after the High Court in Lilongwe found them guilty of plotting and carrying out an attempt to murder Mphwiyo.
But Mphwiyo, in a sworn affidavit to the High Court in defence to allegations that he has been interfering with State witnesses in an ongoing court case where he alongside 17 other civil servants are on trial for corruption and related fraud cases, has specifically accused the Director of Public Prosecutions Mary Kachale and prosecutor Enock Chibwana of pressuring him to sign affidavits the State had offered.
Mphwiyo is accused of reaching out to State witnesses including Daniel Jenya, an economist at the Ministry of Finance and yesterday the defence lawyers interrogated State witnesses in the case until late evening. And in a rare move, the sitting will continue this morning.
But in the affidavit, Mphwiyo accuses the State of falsifying events surrounding his alleged interference with Jenya and says his own experience with the State prosecutors suggests they pressure witnesses.
“…as a State witness myself in the case of the Republic vs Macdonald Kumwembe and others, I have had first-hand experience how the State specifically Mrs Mary Kachale (Director of Public Prosecutions) and Mr Enock Chibwana constantly kept on pressuring me to swear affidavits that I had been contacted,” reads part of the affidavit.
Mphwiyo further argues in the affidavit that one of the State witnesses whose affidavit is currently paraded as evidence of him interfering with Jenya, Oyster Semawati Chisale, a police officer, reportedly confided in him that the DPP was seeking grounds to revoke his bail way before the current court application.
However, the affidavit in court by Chisale indicates that he had met Mphwiyo to warn him against alleged interference with State witnesses.
But Mphwiyo argues that Chisale who was sympathetic of his plight contacted him to warn him of the attempts by the DPP to revoke his bail.
The case is being argued in chamber and both Kachale and Mphwiyo’s lawyer Shadreck Mhango did not comment on the affidavit which we have seen.
However, both Mhango and Kachale confirmed that the case will continue today with cross-examination of State witnesses and also Mphwiyo himself is expected to testify.
“Today, we have been cross-examining police officers who swore the affidavits alleging witness interference,” said Mhango.
Kachale said the court has been examining affidavits by both parties and three witnesses have been undergoing cross-examination.
It was unclear what legal ramifications the claims of pressure by Mphwiyo will have on an appeal case Kasambara and fellow convicts on the Supreme Court appeal case for the attempted murder case will have. Their lawyers were not immediately available for comment. n