Defence lawyers in the ongoing trial into the shooting of former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo have discredited the testimony of former maid to one of the accused persons, Ralph Kasambara.
The eighth State witness Jessie Mussa Kafuwe told the court on Wednesday that Mphwiyo and Kasambara, a former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, exchanged bags which might have contained money and he was at the house the day of the shooting.
However, one of the defence lawyers John-Gift Mwakhwawa made Kafuwe tell the court that Mphwiyo lied to the court that he was never at Kasambara’s house.
“Because of these lies, these untruths in the statements, you expect the court to rely on them?” Mwakhwawa asked, to which the maid responded: “Most are true.”
The former maid also claimed that a friend to Kasambara removed number plates off a Mercedes Benz the senior counsel used on the night and hid it from sight.
But in his cross-examination, Kasambara, who is representing himself, pointed out inconsistencies in her police statements concerning dates and the treatment she received at the hands of the family, especially his wife.
Kasambara said on the day the ex-maid claims his wife told her a visitor from the previous day, Mphwiyo, had been shot, she had gone to Kasungu to attend a funeral and not Lilongwe Golf Club with a son to the Kasambaras.
He said the day after the shooting, he accompanied by his son, bodyguard and driver in a Mercedes Benz and he in a Toyota Landcruiser VX accompanied former South African president Thabo Mbeki to Salima.
But Kafuwe insisted: “Zizwa [Kasambara’s son] was with me at golf club.” But in several instances, Kafuwe, who cannot read or write except her name, admitted that the police who recorded statements put words in her mouth.
The events at Kasambara’s house were also put into question, especially when Mphwiyo left the house and Pika Manondo arrived to drive the Mercedes Benz.
“What is the relevance of the Mercedes Benz to the shooting?” Kasambara asked Kafuwe several times.
To which she shot back: “I realised the two were connected because the wife phoned me to tell me not to spread stories that Mr Kasambara was involved in the shooting of Mphwiyo and that the number plates were removed from the Benz because they were fake, not because it was used in the shooting.
“I was surprised why she [Kasambara’s wife] was telling me those things because I was just a maid.”
Further inconsistencies and contradictions cropped up which defence lawyers Mwakhwawa and Wapona Kita noted.
Among them, Kita observed and Kafuwe confirmed that she was bitter when she was fired unceremoniously.
Kafuwe admitted that she mentioned houses and vehicles belonging to Kasambara which she knew about.
“In short you are telling us what police recorded here is not what you told them? It has been demonstrated that the statements have got facts which aren’t correct?” Kita said.
Kafuwe responded that most of what she said was true.
The case has since been adjourned to March 17 and 19 2015.