Malawi’s former president Joyce Banda risks being in contempt of court if she fails to appear as a witness in the case of attempted murder of former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo, a lawyer has cautioned.
This is the second time Banda, fondly called JB by her supporters, has been named a witness after former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ralph Kasambara did the same.
Banda’s spokesperson, Andekuche Chanthunya, said in an interview on Monday the former president has nothing to do with that and will not be part of the case.
He said: “Her Excellence Mrs Joyce Banda wants no part in that [case] and will not become a witness.”
But lawyer Justin Dzonzi said Banda risks being prosecuted for contempt of court if she fails to become a witness.
Said Dzonzi: “Legally, any person who possesses information on matters in court proceedings is a competent witness and can be compelled to testify. So, if Mrs Joyce Banda has knowledge of the events leading to the shooting of Mr [Paul] Mphwiyo, she can be compelled by the process of subpoena to appear and testify in court.”
One of the suspects, Pika Manondo, is the latest one to mention Banda among his possible witnesses after being found with a case to answer.
However, Manondo’s lawyer, John-Gift Mwakhwawa, who was not present when his client mentioned Banda, said the defence has not conclusively discussed the matter.
Said Mwakhwawa: “I was not there when my client mentioned her and have only heard [about] this in the media. But, suffice to say, my client and I have not discussed the matter and the way forward.”
Last Friday, Manondo, who is currently facing attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder charges, mentioned Banda, former guard commander a Mitepa, Gostera Chimseu, a Mr Kadzamira and private practice lawyer Wapona Kita as his witnesses.