High Court Judge Dorothy NyaKaunda Kamanga has taken over the murder case of MacDonald Masambuka after her colleague Zione Ntaba recused herself, citing a conflict of interest in the case.
According to Registrar of the High Court and Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal Agnes Patemba, the court is yet to come up with the exact date for the start of the case as Justice Kamanga is on leave.
She said: “Justice NyaKaunda Kamanga will preside over the case but currently she is on leave until August 5 2019. Once she is back from holiday, she will give us direction as to when the case will commence.”
In March this year, Justice Zione Ntaba recused herself from Masambuka’s case, a person with albinism, after the defence continuously mentioned Hetherwick Ntaba [her uncle] as a witness for one of the suspects, Alfred Yohane.
Masambuka is believed to have been murdered in Machinga in April last year.
Ntaba told the court that Hetherwick Ntaba is her paternal uncle and judicial ethics require that where there is potential conflict of interest due to family ties, the court shall take steps to address those issues, including recusing oneself from handling the matter.
The body of Masambuka, 22, was found buried on April 1 2018 after he was reported missing in March the same year.
In another development, Ministry of Justice spokesperson Pilirani Masanjala has said the murder case involving Misozi Chanthunya, which was being heard at the High Court in Zomba, awaits the decision by Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal on whether his lawyer Faustino Maere can continue representing him.
Maere was told that he cannot represent Chanthunya because of conflict of interest.
“He then appealed to the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal and also had the matter in the High Court stayed, meaning that we cannot prosecute Chanthunya until the decision by the upper court. For now, we are waiting for a date from the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal to hear the lawyer’s application,” said Masanjala.