It never rains but pours for former Malawi Justice Minister Raphael Kasambara who was today rearrested on money laundering charges.
Kasambara who was on bail on alleged attempted murder of former Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo was arrested this morning at his Area 10 residence in the capital, Lilongwe.
The Malawi police also confiscated Kasambara’s Mercedes Benz, registration NB 4375, which police say was the vehicle used in the shooting of Mphwiyo.
Dressed in blue denims jeans, checked shirt and a dark blue jacket with sandals, the former minister looked relaxed and laughed off the charge, saying “It’s a joke of a charge,” he said.
According to Kasambara, the police, whose first attempt to affect an arrest failed to effect due to an error on the warrant of arrest, arrived at his home at 5:30am on two vehicles, a white land cruiser which towed the Mercedez Benz to Area 30 and a beige Toyota Corolla.
Kasambara was taken to police headquarters in Area 30, before being transferred to Lilongwe Police Station in Area 3.
According the warrant of arrest, Kasambara is being charged with money laundering contrary to Section 35 of the Money Laundering Act.
In an interview at his Area 10 residence, Kasambara said the transaction was done when he was a Cabinet minister and was no longer associated with the law firm in question.
“The police should have done their research better before coming and arresting me. The transaction which they are arresting me for was done during the time I was minister and I declared that I was no longer involved in running the [Ralph and Arnolds] Associates account, so how I can I be held liable to a client’s accounts, that’s for the administration,” he said.
The cheque is said to have belonged to Pika Manondo, who wanted to buy a house and had contacted Ralph and Arnolds to assist him.
Malawi Police Service (MPS) spokesperson Rhoda Manjoro could not say if Kasambara will be released after questioning today.
“He is still in our custody, yes, but I don’t know if he will sleep in our custody or he will be released,” she said.
This is the second arrest for Kasambara who is expected to appear in court to answer charges of suspected murder of Paul Mphwiyo next month.
In the morning, Police also seized a camera belonging to Nation Publications Limited (NPL) photo-journalist Thoko Chikondi in full view of the press but it was later given back.
—Read The Nation tomorrow for more details, reactions and analysis.