Mphwiyo Case Adjourned due to Small Court Size

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale acknowleged that Malawi Court rooms are too small to accommodate the public who want to follow different cases of the public interest.

Mphwiyo after court
Mphwiyo after court

Kachale made the remarks at the High court in Lilongwe during the ongoing case of gunshot survivor and former Budget director Paul Mphwiyo and eighteen other cashgate suspects.

This follows a plea by one of the defence lawyers who is also the leading counsel of all the accused.

The defence Senior Council (SC) Messrs Chisanga asked the court to use its powers and move the case to another comfortable bigger space than the current room which is too small to accommodate the accused and their team of 18 legal counsels including state prosecutors, accused relatives, the media and the public.

Reacting to the leading defence counsel, Chisannga SC concured with Kachale citing that the courts were built with respect to the population of that time.

He said it is difficult sometimes for the counsels to bring all their files and take notes during court sessions due to the tiny space of the room.

Delivering her ruling, presiding Judge Justice Esmie Chombo advised the registrar of the courts and office of the DPP to find a bigger and better room where court can sit within Lilongwe City.

Meanwhile,  first accused person Paul Montfort Mphwiyo and other 18 suspects in the K2.4 billion cashgate case failed to enter any plea on Thursday at Lilongwe  High Court as the defence councils brought some objections before the court.

Titus Mvalo, SC told the court that the state filed a new charge sheet on Tuesday afternoon and that they have some issues to object in the new charge sheet.

Mphwiyo with his lawyer
Mphwiyo with his lawyer

Mvalo SC questioned the change of Count One, which is the conspiracy to defraud government the sum of K2,444,817,450.49 which is different to the first sheet dated 1st April 2013 to 30th July 2013.

Senior Counsel Mvalo further articulated that his client can’t enter a plea as he is yet to read the new charge sheet and in order for him and others to have a fair trial they need to go through the new charge sheet before they take the plea.

Kachale (DPP) who is the lead counsel on the state side agreed that there are some changes to the charge sheet but was of the view that the accused could have made a plea as the charges were not changed.

Presiding Judge, Justice Esmie Chombo adjourned the case to 11th May, 2016 to give ample time for the accused to go through the new charge sheet and to allow the state to preparelast documents on the case.

Mphwiyo has been charged with four counts of Conspiracy  to commit fraud which is contrary to section 323 of penal code,Theft by public Servant contrary to section 283 (1) of penal code, Theft by servant , contrary to section 278 as read with section 286 (1)of penal code and Money  laundering contrary to section 35 (1)(c) worth MK2.446,817.49.



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