Malawi’s former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo has maintained that he identified the gunman who shot him on September 13 2013 as Macdonald Kumwembe, challenging the prosecution to investigate how Kumwembe could have a stamp in his passport that he left for Mozambique before the incident and entered Malawi a day after.
Mphwiyo said this in court yesterday during re-examination which was prompted by cross-examination from lawyer for one of the accused persons, Osward Lutepo, who queried the relationship between the two.
Said Mphwiyo: “I maintain what I said and that is the face I saw at the gate when I was shot. I remember being shown a passport which showed that he [Kumwembe] left Malawi, but if a proper examination can be done, the authenticity of that claim could be challenged.”
Mphwiyo was referring to cross-examination by Kumwembe’s lawyer, Wapona Kita, last year during which he produced his client’s passport to show stamps by the Immigration Department indicating that he exited Malawi on August 30 2013 and entered on September 14 2013.
He also clarified that he did not identify Kumwembe as he did Kasambara and the Manondo brothers—Pika and Dauka—in earlier police statements because he had never seen him before.
Mphwiyo reiterated that he did not mention Kasambara to the police who visited him while he was hospitalised in South Africa following the shooting because he was afraid for his life since Kasambara was a minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and a senior officer of the court, but also had influence in government.
On his connection to Manondo and the meeting which took place in South Africa, Mphwiyo said: “I did not travel to South Africa with Manondo and the manifests will show that. I was in South Africa between 6 and 8 August . But the fourth accused [Kasambara], knew I was there, he must have been following me.”
Mphwiyo also wondered how Kasambara knew which security lights had been installed after the shooting if he claimed that he had never been to his house.
“He knew the perimeter of my house better than myself and could direct which security lights should be covered. That, my Lord, is even more scary,” Mphwiyo said.
The opportunity for Mphwiyo to clarify issues which several defence lawyers had posed in cross-examination did not please lawyer John-Gift Mwakhwawa who objected to the line of questioning, accusing State lawyer Enoch Chibwana of bringing new information.
But presiding judge Michael Mtambo argued that it was on record that Mphwiyo’s mother was attacked at her house while he was in hospital and it was the defence which brought in the issue that Manondo and Mphwiyo travelled to South Africa together and held parties.
The judge asked Mwakhwawa to include his objections in submissions to follow after witnesses.
Meanwhile, the State has paraded two more witnesses among them Dr Hetherwick Ntaba who was called to the hospital on the night of Mphwiyo’s shooting.
Ntaba said if he had not inserted a laringostope at the back of Mphwiyo’s throat against struggles and gasps for breath, he would have died.
He also told the court that the entrance wounds of bullets indicated that Mphwiyo was shot three times.
Hearing continues today.