An expert has patched holes into attempts by Pika Manondo, one of the suspects in the shooting of Paul Mphwiyo who was then serving as National Budget Director in Ministry of Finance to discredit call logs as questionable evidence.
Manondo asked the court to throw out call logs provided by Airtel saying the logs showed him to be in multiple locations at the same time. He told the court that despite being at city centre around 23:11 hours (11pm), the logs show him using signal from Area 43 G2 Tower. He however says this is not possible because the logs show that he had used City Centre tower 5 minutes before.
“My lord, I have tried several times using the logs to drive at that speed from city centre to Area 43 it can’t work looking at the distance and on this day the closer I went was at Vision Gaming club Pacific Area 10 where I was meeting my brother Dauka,” he said.
“At 00:37am the logs show I had a call from 0999967976 which is Mr Lutepo number for 48 seconds informing me of Mphwiyo shooting. According to the logs, Lutepo was using KH G2 (Kamuzu Central Hospital) tower while I was using Area 32 tower near city centre” said Manondo who insisted that unless he was on a chopper, there was no way he could have travelled between the two places as logs at 00:39am also show him was using Area 47 sector 2 tower.
However, Henry Nyirenda, while commenting on Facebook said, the signal from a particular tower does not imply one’s physical location.
“Mphwiyo is shot at 23:11 at his gate. Two calls are located near area 47 tower, one for Mphwiyo’s wife at house and Manondo identified by Mphwiyo at the crime scene. It’s clear there was indeed movement by Manondo from one tower to the other before 23:12. But at and after 23:11 there was no movement by Manondo, just like there was no movement by Mphwiyo’s wife.
“[Manondo] was moving while making the call. The call was initiated, connected and ended within the indicated tower’s range. Distance from the tower determines signal strength. When making a call while driving the call is passed from one tower to the other. In a cellular, the physical area between towers can be big, but at their range intersection it is very small. Therefore,its possible to change from one tower to the other within two minutes though, physically impossible to do so” concluded Nyirenda.
Other suspects in the Mphwiyo shooting case include Macdonald Kumwembe and former Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara. The trial continues.