High Court Judge Michael Mtambo on Friday challenged Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale and her team to research and find out whether a court has powers to make a motion that an accused’s bail should be revoked.
Specifically, Mtambo wants to revoke Raphael Kasambara’s bail apparently because there have been “a lot of funny things” happening in a case where three men—including Kasambara— are accused of conspiring and attempting to murder former Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo.
Mtambo said from the time he delivered his ruling which found that Kasambara and two others had cases to answer in the murder plot of Mphwiyo, numerous attempts have been made to delay progress on the case which he had initially wanted to conclude by May this year.
“From the Court’s own motion, I want to ask the third accused [Kasambara] why his bail should not be revoked,” said a calm Mtambo when the court reconvened in Lilongwe to hear the State’s application for the revocation of another suspect, Macdonald Kumwembe’s bail.
During the day, the judge also heard arguments from both the State and Kumwembe on the latter’s application that Mtambo should recuse himself from the case apparently because chances are high that he will be biased against the accused.
However, hearing of Kumwembe’s bail revocation application did not take place. The matter has since been adjourned to 23 and 24 September.
But, in a sudden twist of events, Mtambo convicted Kumwembe after ruling that the accused’s letter that the judge should recuse himself from the case was “sarcastic, demeaning and rude”, thus in contempt of court.
In his motion that Kasambara’s bail should be revoked, Mtambo observed that there were some connections between the former Justice Minister’s arguments that Mtambo should recuse himself and those of Kumwembe.
According to the judge, the connections imply that Kasambara was also involved in Kumwembe’s application for his recusal— which has since been thrown o u t—“and the theory is that the third accused produced the arguments [for Kumwembe].”
But in his earlier response to Kachale’s questions, Kumwembe maintained that he was the one who had produced the arguments.
On the other hand, Mtambo added that the issue of his Curriculum Vitae (CV) which Kumwembe used as one of his basis for his application that he should recuse himself also came up when Kasambara made his submissions for recusal.
“The CV was in the custody of the third accused [Kasambara] and it has come up again. All this is aimed at delaying the conclusion of the case. The granting of bail [to the accused] was based on the fact that they would cooperate,” said Mtambo.
He, however, praised the second accused in the case, Pika Manondo, whom he said “is still continuing with his impressive spirit and shows he wants the case to be concluded quickly”.
On his motion that Kasambara’s bail should be revoked, Mtambo said: “As judge in charge of his matter, I have to show that I am in control. And to the State, researching whether the court can make such a motion is your homework for the next hearing.”
Should the State find that a court has powers to make a motion that an accused’s bail should be revoked, Kasambara will have to argue against the motion apart from defending himself in his conspiracy to murder case
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