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Tempers flare at Paul Mphwiyo case

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Tempers flared at the High Court in Lilongwe Wednesday, when Macdonald Kumwembe, the first accused person, in a case in which three people are answering charges relating to the shooting of former budget director Paul Mphwiyo, was making his testimony.

Kumwembe was testifying after the defence had asked the court to allow him do so, to counter what two State witnesses, Luciano Chiumbuzo and Peter Chiumbuzo said on Monday and Tuesday.

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mary Kachale did not hide her displeasure with the way Kumwembe responded to her questions.

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One of the issues which may not have pleased Kachale was a suspicion by Kumwembe, on how the State brought Chiumbuzo from South Africa.

Kumwembe earlier on told the court that Chiumbuzo was using his phone in Malawi when he (Kumwembe) was in Mozambique in 2013. But Chiumbuzo told the court that he was not in Malawi at the time of the shooting.

Kumwembe said it was not strange that Chiumbuzo made the remarks because he had come as a State witness.

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Kachale accused Kumwembe of making “allegations”.

“Madam DPP, if you are angry, it will be difficult for me to answer your questions,” Kumwembe said.

But Kachale admitted that she was not pleased:

“I am not amused. What other allegations do you want to make?”

It was clear that things were not well until, Kumwembe started responding to the DPP’s questions while looking at Judge Michael Mtambo.

As the DPP quizzed Kumwembe based on Chiumbuzo’s availability in Malawi, Kumwembe stressed that it was only Chiumbuzo’s passport, which he said was not made available in court, that could have shown that he was in the country.

“The only thing that could have proved that he was in the country was his passport. The passport is the centre of everything. What I know he was in Malawi at that time,” Kumwembe said.

Kasambara and Manondo later asked Kumwembe some questions before the trial ended.

Thereafter, Judge Michael Mtambo said written submissions should be made available to court by June 1, 2016 before making oral submissions on June 8. Both parties are expected to make final submissions by June 20, 2016.

“Judgement will be delivered end June or early July,” Mtambo said.

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