The Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal has reserved its ruling on a bail application pending appeal filed by former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ralph Kasambara and his two co-convicts.
Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Dunstan Mwaungulu, sitting as a single Supreme Court Judge, yesterday said he would deliver his ruling on the matter at a later date after hearing submissions from Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale and lawyers for the trio, namely Modecai Msisha, Senior Counsel (SC), Michael Goba Chipeta and Lusungu Gondwe.
Kasambara and his co-convicts—Pika Manondo and McDonald Kumwembe—applied for bail pending an appeal against their conviction in March this year.
The applicants , through their lawyers, submitted that they deserved bail because they complied with their bail conditions before conviction and that their passports as well as bail bonds were still in custody of the State.
They also argued that the call logs used as concrete evidence in convicting them were not relevant enough as the time frame of the logs could not constitute a conspiracy hence errors were made.
But in her submissions, Kachale accused the applicants of deliberately misrepresenting the facts as the call logs were a balanced up mixture and a totality of evidence rendered to the courts.
In an interview after the hearing, Kachale said it was her submission that Kasambara and his co-convicts should not be granted bail because they were convicted and serving their sentence despite their pending appeal.
She said: “In summary, we are saying that it is not in the interest of justice that bail should be granted because of several factors, including seriousness of the offence and evidence against them.”
The applicants’ lawyers refused to grant media interviews.
The trio was convicted last year after being found guilty of conspiracy and attempt to murder former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo outside the gate of his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe on September 13 2013.
It is widely believed that Mphwiyo’s shooting exposed the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill that later came to be known as Cashgate.n