LILONGWE (Tamanda Mwale, Malawi NewsNow)- Former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ralph Kasambara was forced to apologise and ask for leniency from the High Court in Lilongwe after he was found in contempt of court following his threats to slap Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale during cross-examination.
Kasambara representing himself in a case where he is charged with conspiracy to commit murder alongside Pika Manondo and Macdonald Kumwembe in connection with the attempted murder of former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo in September 2013 lost his temper after Kachale put it to the court that Manondo would know how long a VW Golf vehicle would take to drive from the new Area 43 Turnoff to Mphwiyo’s house and not from the Kanengo Turnoff into the new residential area.
He described the remarks as demeaning because Kachale had not brought any evidence to that effect.
“Stop insinuating that a VW was used to go to Mphwiyo’s house. You are lucky that this is a court. If it wasn’t, I would slap you,” said Kasambara, the former attorney general.
Kachale protested on the remarks as Judge Mtambo asked the prosecution for guidance on whether the court should cite Kasambara with contempt.
“This is beyond contempt of court. It’s a blatant threat of violence. The court has ruled that he has a case to answer, but he wants to intimidate me in the presence of the court,” said Kachale.
She claimed Kasambara’s action to her were sexist and would not have done if she were a man.
But Kasambara told the court that he made the remarks in the heat of the moment.
In his ruling after asking special public prosecutor Enoch Chibwana to address him on whether he should cite Kasambara for contempt of court, presiding judge Michael Mtambo said Kasambara’s conduct was disrespectful of the court.
Judge Mtambo ruled that Kasambaea was “ in contempt of court” and censured him “not to carry out this behaviour again.”
Mphwiyo’s shooting outside the gate of his Area 43 house on September 13 2013 is widely believed to have exposed Cashgate, the systematic plunder of public resources at Capital Hill by some civil servants and others from the private sector.