The High Court in Lilongwe says it will comply with the judge’s order to summon potential defence witnesses, including former president Joyce Banda, in the case of the shooting of former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo.
Speaking in an interview ahead of the resumption of the case, assistant registrar of the High Court, Violet Chipawo, said on Wednesday the registrar would comply with the court’s order to issue the summons in time for the hearing next week.
But she could not confirm if the summonses have already been sent out in readiness for the case next week.
Said Chipawo: “What I can say is that the registrar will comply with the judge’s orders that the witnesses be summoned when court reconvenes.”
In earlier court sessions, two of the accused persons in the Mphwiyo shooting case—Macdonald Kumwembe and Pika Manondo—named Banda, politicians Friday Jumbe and Hophmally Makande and five others as their witnesses.
Hearing of the case is set to resume on September 23 2015.
Pika asked presiding judge Michael Mtambo to issue summonses for the witnesses, including Banda, to come to court.
Banda has been out of the country since June 2014, but has been mentioned by several suspects in Cashgate-related cases, including former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ralph Kasambara, as a potential witness.
When the court convened on September 7 2015, Pika told the court he would only start defending himself once key witnesses, including Banda, fondly called by her initials JB by her supporters, were willing to appear before court and are subpoenaed.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale said on Wednesday that it was her office’s advise that the defendants should approach the registrar not the State for such assistance.
She said: “To my knowledge, nothing has changed. The case will continue on the set dates.”
However, there is likelihood that parading of defence witnesses might delay as Mtambo has asked the DPP to consider applying to the court to revoke bail of one of the defendants, private practice lawyer Kasambara who was named as the mastermind of Kumwembe’s application asking the judge to recuse himself.
The court has since jailed Kumwembe for contempt of court after his letter described the judge as a “modern day Robin Hood”.
In the case, Kumwembe is answering charges of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder after Mphwiyo identified him as his shooter.
Pika was also found with a case to answer on the two charges of conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder. He too mentioned Banda and four others, including private practice lawyer Wapona Kita, as his witnesses.
Mphwiyo was shot outside the gate of his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe on the night of September 13 2013. His near-fatal shooting is widely believed to have exposed the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill by public servants and businesspersons widely known now as Cashgate.