Former Budget Director on Wednesday afternoon appeared in Court to testify on his attempted murder where he identified former Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara and Pika Manondo as having been in the company of the gun-men when his was shot at his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe.
Mphwiyo brought out the shocker in front of a highly packed High Court in Lilongwe when he was giving his evidence in the ongoing case involving the State against Kasambara, Mphwiyo and three other accused on an attempted murder case on the life of Mphwiyo.
“When I was on the gate of my house waiting for the gate to be opened for me to enter, I saw a man who was fast approaching the side window of my vehicle who wore a syndicate.
On his immediate left back side was someone I identified as Pika Manondo while on his immediate right back side was the person I identified as Mr Ralph Kasambara who were also advancing towards my vehicle. There were also two other people behind them who I could not identify. The man who was in front of them all was the one who shot me three times,” said Mphwiyo.
When quizzed by State Prosecutor Enock Chibwana, if it could have been a case of mistaken identity, Mphwiyo affirmatively told the court that there was no way he could miss out the faces of Kasambara and Manondo.
“My lord, these are people whom I have known for a very long time. No matter the situation; under stress or duress; I cannot fail to recognize them,” said the highly confident Mphwiyo who revealed he was not drunk as he only had three bottles of Heineken.
Earlier, Mphwiyo had testified that he had been receiving death threats on grounds that he on his former position as Budget Director had refused to give out funds which Kasambara in his former position as Minister of Justice had requested for.
In his testimony, Mphwiyo said Kasambara through his office had on several occasions requested the office of Mphwiyo to approve large sums of money for compensation and out of court settlements to several companies after requesting the treasury to make some payments.
According to him, the funds were meant for compensations and of out of courts payments to some companies.
Mphwiyo highlighted a fund request amounting to MK9 billion which Kasambara requested that it goes Terrastone-Deco joint venture Company after the company lost its contract when Malawi Government switched ties from Taiwan which was assisting in building the parliament structure to China.
According to him, this and other several other requests were dubious in nature.
“Pika Manondo on several times had come in person to my house to influence me to make the payments and in the process he relayed the message that if I do not comply, my life would be in danger.
“When I got fed up with the threats, I went to Kasambara’s house to talk to him. He told me he had a visitor at his house and we drove out for like 15 minutes whereby I told him that I was fed up with the threats and that I would not feel threatened or intimated with what I knew was the right thing to do. All this time, a Toyota Fortuner belonging to him was always following us, said Mphwiyo.
The former budget director also said that he had at one point received a phone call from former minister of information Brown Mpinganjira urging him to make the payments.
“He told me that he had a message from Kasambara and Hophmally Makande that I had a ten day ultimatum on my life if I do not honor the payments, said he.
According to him, Mphwiyo had received a text message from Kasambara from a mobile number 0999 937 577 requesting a meeting with him at Kasambara’s residence. However he lied to Kasambara that he was travelling from Kasungu while he was rather having a social time with some friends at Africana up until 10 pm.
From there Mphwiyo said he passed by another place to meet a friend before proceeding home.
Mphwiyo said the journey back home did not end as it was expected to as right outside his house was when he met the assailants, Kasambara and Manondo with the shooter who put three bullets in him identified as Macdonald Kumwembe and two others.
The court was then taken to Mphwiyos’ area 43 residence to demonstrate how the whole ordeal happened to which he did.
As we went to press, the court had adjourned to 11.00 pm to determine the accuracy of Mphwiyo identifying Kasambara and Mphwiyo as having accompanied the shooter as it was under nightfall.