Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale has sought guidance from Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal on whether former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Raphael Kasambara can represent his co-accused Macdonald Kumwembe.
The DPP’s move follows the revocation of bail conditions last week for Kasambara who is facing a charge of conspiracy to commit murder in the case of the shooting of former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo.
Kumwembe, a former Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldier, is answering charges of conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder alongside his colleague Pika Manondo.
Kachale said this in an interview after appearing before Supreme Court judge Lovemore Chikopa on a September 22 2015 application by Kumwembe following his four months imprisonment with hard labour (IHL) sentence for contempt of court.
During the interview after the inter-partes hearing, Kachale said the State raised two issues, including seeking guidance on Kasambara and expressing concern about short notice about the hearing date, an objection, she said, the court immediately considered and moved the case to Monday.
She said: “The other objection that we have raised, which we believe is a substantive one, is that the legal practitioner appearing on behalf of Mr. Kumwembe is his co-accused, Mr. Raphael Kasambara.
“So, we are raising the issue that in other jurisdictions such as the UK and India, among others, there are authorities that say that a co-accused cannot at the same time be a legal practitioner for his co-accused. So, we are raising that substantive issue to say we believe the court must determine as well whether indeed Mr. Raphael Kasambara should act as legal practitioner in the Supreme Court for his co-accused.”
On September 22, three applications, one from Kasambara and two from Kumwembe, were made before Chikopa and among those applications, only one by Kumwembe was considered by the court.
Meanwhile, Kasambara, who was taken ill on Friday, is still admitted to the Blantyre Adventist Hospital.
Speaking in a telephone interview on Wednesday, Malawi Prison Services (MPS) spokesperson Evance Phiri said he did not have the current status of Kasambara’s health, but said his condition was improving when he visited him on Tuesday.