Ralph Kasambara attacks judge’s ruling


In new twist to the shooting case of former budget director Paul Mphwiyo, one of the suspects Ralph Kasambara yesterday made an application that presiding Judge Michael Mtambo should recuse himself from handling the case for alleged ‘bias’.

Kasambara referred to Mtambo as playing the role of a ‘prosecution advocate’ basing on the ruling, which found the private practice lawyer with a case to answer on conspiracy to commit murder charge.

But Director of Public Prosecutions Mary Kachale vehemently rejected the application, arguing that the judge did not go out of his way but rather alerted the defence team on areas to focus on when giving evidence during defence stage.


Said Kasambara: “Any well-informed individual could see that there is apparent bias on the part of the judge. The state came up with their theory that Mphwiyo was shot because he refused to make payments to me, the judge came up with his own theory that there was a joint enterprise between Mphwiyo and me and that it was a deal that had gone sour.”

He added that the prosecution alleged that Mphwiyo was being pressured to make payments but the judge introduced the issue of Cashgate by describing the role of budget director.

“With all due respect there is no evidence that the judge worked in government and knows the role of the Budget Director. The judge is taking sides in this matter and introducing extraneous prejudicial information, especially when the accused was a politician and serving in Cabinet at the time of the shooting,” said Kasambara.


Kasambara gave an example that Airtel call logs placed murder suspect Pika Manondo in Area 43 on the day of the shooting and that Mtambo came to one conclusion that he was at Mphwiyo’s house.

“He could have been spending a night at a girlfriend’s place in Area 43 or actually spending a night at Ufulu Gardens. Shockingly, the judge also said that Pika ran away a few days after the shooting, this presupposes that the judge has already made up his mind at this stage of the case,” he said.

Kachale, however, punched holes in Kasambara’s application, saying it has been made in bad faith.


“What the counsel is saying is like putting the judge on trial. Our witness Jesse Musa and lead investigator also testified that there was cash found. Musa also corroborated that Pika was an ‘errand boy’ as evidenced by how he frequented Kasambara’s house and that he had access to the house.”

The DPP also pointed out that three accused persons, namely Dauka Manondo, Robert Kadzuwa and Oswald Lutepo were acquitted in the same case and, therefore, wondered how a ‘biased’ judge could do that.

In an interview outside the court, Kachale observed that this is the second time that the defence has requested for a judge to be recused as another judge Esmie Chombo recused herself after the defence team raised some concerns at the initial stage of the case.

Meanwhile, the defence team has also applied to the court to be furnished with transcripts of the case recorded by the court reporter.

Defence lawyer Wapona Kita specifically requested for transcripts of Mphwiyo, Chilinda and Airtel experts.

The case has since been adjourned to June 3 when the state is expected to formally respond to the application.

The judge is expected to make a ruling on the matter of June 5, 2015.

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