This morning’s Nation newspaper has a cover story in which former president of Malawi Joyce Banda has been named yet again as a witness in the court case against Pika Manondo.
Manondo is being accused as involved in the plot to kill former budget director Paul Mphwiyo; an attempted murder that unravelled the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill by public officials including civil servants and cabinet ministers, locally dubbed Cashgate scandal.
Joyce Banda was first named a witness in the Cashgate related case against former minister of justice and constitutional affairs Ralph Kasambara, but she refused to testify. She had claimed a few hours after the shooting that she knew people who had shot Mphwiyo, but later retracted her claim, saying she knew that the people were enemies of Malawi. Legal experts say her comments may lead to a charge of contempt of court if she subsequently does not show up after being summoned to appear as a witness. Unlike before, when she had presidential immunity, she currently cannot claim such protections as a former president – a cause some people believe drove her to leave the country soon after the elections.
It will be interesting what will happen this time around, since she has not returned to Malawi since leaving after losing the May 2014 elections. Further, Paul Mphwiyo is now answering charges of Tax evasion and corruption, and does not appear to be the victim Malawians were first led to believe.
What is strange with the news about Banda being summoned is that the report quotes Manondo’s lawyer as saying that discussions as to whether to summon Banda or not have not been concluded by the defence??
More information can be found here (Malawi Nation).