The Paul Mphwiyo attempted murder case continued at the High Court in Lilongwe on Wednesday when first accused Macdonald Kumwembe accused state witnesses of lying in court.
Kumwembe and second accused Pika Manondo are answering charges of attempted murder while former minister Ralph Kasambara is answering charges of conspiracy to commit murder.
Kumwembe was paraded to counter statements made by the state’s rebuttal witnesses who testified on Monday and Tuesday.
The two witnesses, Peter and Luciano Chiumbudzo were paraded by the state in order to prove that Luciano was not using Kumwembe’s phone on the day Mphwiyo was shot.
Kumwembe has always claimed that he was in Mozambique when Mphwiyo was shot and left his phone with Luciano. However, Luciano told the court he had been living in South Africa since 2013 and only returned this year, Peter also provided the same information.
But Kumwembe was incensed that Luciano claimed to have been in South Africa in August 2013 but did not show the court his passport.
He also accused the state witnesses of lying, saying they could not be trusted because they made contradicting statements that would confuse the court.
“Peter told the court he was persuading Luciano to come to Malawi in February [this year] but Luciano said he came to Malawi in January,” said Kumwembe.
The first accused also noted that the witnesses had differed on whether Luciano had a wife as well as on the date their mother died.
During cross examination, Director of Public Prosecutions Mary Kachale asked the first accused why he did not challenge the two witnesses when they appeared before court, Kumwembe said he “felt it was unnecessary and would have only wasted the court’s time.”
Kumwembe also clashed with Kachale when he suggested that he could have told the police that he left his phone with a person who is dead, and not someone they could trace.
But Kachale said Kumwembe mentioned Luciano’s name because he never thought the police could find him.
“You knew how difficult it was to trace Luciano and that is why you mentioned his name,” said Kachale.
The case has since been adjourned to June 8 this year when the defence and prosecution teams will make oral submissions to the court.
Meanwhile Kachale says the prosecution is glad that the case has reached its final stages and gave credit to the judiciary for the manner in which they have managed the case.
She also assured the public that the state is committed to make sure that the case is finalised but insisted that it is equally important to ensure that justice is not buried.
Said Kachale: “Where the interest of justice calls for time, time must be given because the ultimate aim is that justice be done.”