The High Court in Lilongwe on Thursday moved to the residence of former Malawi Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo in Area 43 where it started hearing testimony from a security guard.
The guard, the first prosecution witness, among others, said in his testimony that he did not see the face of the person who shot and injured his boss in September last year.
The suspects, former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and private practice lawyer Ralph Kasambara, businesspersons Pika Manondo, Dauka Manondo, Robert Kadzuwa and Macdonald Kumwembe have pleaded not guilty to charges of allegedly conspiring and shooting Mphwiyo.
The guard, Charles Singano, told the locus in quo (court hearing taking place at the alleged scene of the crime) that he heard his boss arrive at the gate and proceeded to go open for him, but after peeping through a window of the guardhouse to make sure it was him.
Singano said he saw a man with his face shielded on the driver’s side of Mphwiyo’s vehicle then heard one gunshot and then two more as his boss crashed the gate to enter the partially opened gate.
Speaking in Chichewa, Singano said: “The boss drove into the gate then got out of the car bleeding badly and walked into the house. A short while later, he walked out with his wife and child, and I helped to put him into the vehicle to go to the hospital.”
During cross-examination by Pika Manondo, Singano told the court that there were no closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras around the compound before the incident, but they were installed afterwards contrary to what the defence had said.
Further, Singano also denied any knowledge of people or knowing Yambani Mulemba, who allegedly went to the house after the incident and carried away boxes of cash.
In cross-examining Singano, Kasambara discredited his [the guard’s] statement to police in which he claimed he heard three shots fired, but told the court four shots were fired; a differing account of how he was injured on the night and the time Mphwiyo arrived at his home which he said was 11pm in court but at 00.02 hours in his statement.
Singano admitted that he gave a statement to police, but denied putting his thumbprint on it.
On re-examination by senior State advocate Dziko Malunda, Singano admitted that he could not know the time because he had no wristwatch.
Meanwhile, hearing is expected to continue today (Friday) with the first of the two witnesses expected because Mphwiyo, who is one of the eight witnesses, was in South Africa receiving treatment.
Earlier, High Court Judge Michael Mtambo ordered the prosecution to commence parading of witnesses, thwarting their attempts to adjourn the case to another day.
Malunda had sought an adjournment after telling the court that the State had complied with the court order to furnish the defence with witness statements and call logs, but later than the seven days and 21 days required by law.
Said Mtambo: “The adjournment is denied. I have to travel from Blantyre for this case and that involves taxpayers’ money. The case is adjourned to 2pm, be ready to parade your first witness.”