Defence witness and former police officer Keston Gani on Wednesday told the High Court in Lilongwe that two high-profile public officers wanted him to implicate former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ralph Kasambara in the Paul Mphwiyo shooting case.
In his testimony on Wednesday during cross-examination by Kasambara, who is representing himself in the case, Gani, who also served as Kasambara’s bodyguard, said former director of public prosecutions (DPP) Bruno Kalemba and ex-deputy police inspector general Nelson Bophani arranged a meeting between him and two police officers at National Police Headquaters in Lilongwe.
The former VIP Protection officer, Gani, said he was initially summoned to Bophani’s office in Lilongwe and, while in transit, he told the court, he received a call from a senior police officer identified as Mr. Mdeza who headed the VIP Protection Unit, advising him about change of plans.
Instead, Gani further told court, he was ordered to proceed to Officers’ Mess within National Police Headquarters at Area 30 where he was to meet detectives investigating the Mphwiyo case named as Mr. Chaima and Mr. Chilinda.
Gani said at the mess, Chaima and Chilinda allegedly informed him that he was to testify against Kasambara and make a series of allegations, including those that will implicate the former minister in planning and executing the hit on Mphwiyo or risk his own re-arrest.
Kasambara, who is representing himself, is accused of conspiring to murder Mphwiyo alongside former Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldier Macdonald Kumwembe and businessperson Pika Manondo who also face an extra charge of attempting to murder the former budget director.
During the court session, Kasambara lost his cool after a heated exchange with DPP Mary Kachale during Gani’s cross-examination in the case about the shooting of former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo in September 2013.
Kachale twice accused Kasambara of encouraging Gani to make statements based on hearsay. She also alleged that the former minister, a senior counsel (SC), was misleading Gani to provide false information, a statement that visibly infuriated Kasambara.
“You are misleading the court!” Kachale said from her seat.
To this, Kasambara, who was in the dock, stared at Kachale and retorted: “Respect yourself madam, I don’t want to lose my temper.”
Later, Kasambara said: “I have lost it [the temper]. I need a five-minute break.”
Presiding judge Michael Mtambo gave Kasambara his wish and ordered a recess to cool off the tempers.
Earlier, Gani also narrated how Bophani allegedly pressured him, following Gani’s release from the charges after he was earlier arrested alongside the accused persons, to testify against Kasambara.
Kasambara’s line of questioning focused on seeking lines from Gani to explain his whereabouts during the days leading to and after the shooting of the former budget director on September 13 2013.
Mphwiyo’s shooting at the gate on his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe is believed to have exposed Cashgate, the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill. n