The Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal is yet to set a date to rule on whether Judge Dunstan Mwaungulu should recuse himself in a case in which former Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Ralph Kasambara and two co-convicts applied for bail pending appeal.
The court last met on April 12 2017 when both the State, led by director of public prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale and defence lawyers tussled over whether Mwaungulu showed any bias when he commented ‘negatively’ on a professional google group on bail for one of the convicts Macdonald Kumwembe.
The trio, including Pika Manondo, were found guilty of conspiracy and attempted murder of former budget director Paul Mphwiyo outside his area 43 residence in 2013
In an interview on Monday, Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula confirmed that no date has been set for both the ruling on recusal case and bail for the convicts who are serving jail terms at Zomba Prison.
“The court will communicate once the dates have been set,” he said.kasamba
During the last court hearing, Mwaungulu and Kachale tussled, with the DPP on one hand describing the conduct of the judge as contrary to code of conduct of judicial officers while the judge schooled the State that his comments did not mean he had already taken a position on the matter.
The judge also gave the DPP one week to file brief notes on all new issues raised during the hearing before delivering his ruling.
Kasambara was slapped with a 13-year custodial sentence for conspiracy to murder while Kumwembe and Manondo got 15 and 11 years, respectively to run consecutively for the two charges.