The High Court in Blantyre has dismissed an application for bail by jailed ex Justice Minister Raphael Kasambara and his co-convicts: Macdonald Kumwembe and Pika Manondo for an appeal of their conviction on charges that came in line with the shooting of former budget director Paul Mphwiyo in 2013.
Earlier on, the court convicted Kumwembe and Manondo were charges of attempted murder and conspiracy to murder.
It then convicted Kasambara of the charge of conspiracy to murder.
On August 30, Kasambara got a 13 year jail term while Manondo and Kumwembe got 26 years(15 years for attempted murder and 11 years for conspiracy to murder).
In his ruling dated October 3, 2016 Justice Michael Mtambo said that the burden to prove exceptional and unusual circumstances warranting release on bail is on the applicants.
The judge said that he agrees with the State that the matters listed by the applicants are not relevant considerations at the stage the case is.
“Consequently, no unusual or exceptional circumstances have been established by the applicants. I, therefore, dismiss the application for bail pending appeal,” reads the ruling.
According to the judgement, some of the reasons the applicants cited are that the granting of bail pending appeal would not prejudice the State.
“That they have ascertainable locations within Malawi, and that the third convict [Kasambara] has an impeccable personal record both in public and private life. No evidence has been adduced about the character of the third accused. From his conduct during the trial, he did not display any impeccable conduct,” reads the ruling in part.
But after the conviction of the three, the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) had expressed satisfaction with the sentence handed to three convicts over their role in the attempted murder of former budget director Paul Mphwiyo.
It was widely believed that Mphwiyo’s shooting was linked to a fallout among corrupt officials who were exploiting loopholes in former President Joyce Banda’s government accounting system to siphon off vast sums of public money in a syndicate popularly known cashgate.
Subsequent days led to a lot of civil servants being found with huge sums of money lacking proper documentation on how they got the money.
The scandal started when an accounts assistant in the Ministry of Environment, Victor Sithole, was found with huge amounts of money not in consistence with his monthly income.
This was later compounded with the shooting of the former budget director on September 13, 2013.