As cashgate cases continue in Malawi courts, Presiding Judge in a money laundering case involving former Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Raphael Kasambara has been forced to recuse himself in the case.
Kasambara asked the High Court Judge Chifundo Kachale in the MK5.7 billion to recuse himself from the case due to the fact that he is married to Mary, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).
In the Application, Kasambara argued having the two in the case will deny him having a fair trial in the case.
Ruling on Kasambara’s application, the judge said if the trial in Zomba—where businessperson and politician Oswald Lutepo was convicted on his own plea of guilty—presided over by judge Redson Kapindu was being prosecuted by anyone else from the DPP’s chambers, other than the DPP herself, Kasambara’s application would have failed.
“The court has upheld the request by Kasambara alleging the court’s close social ties with the DPP, who has been conducting an allied trial before Justice Kapindu, raises reasonable apprehension of some perception of lack of impartiality.
“Principally, it has been proposed that the court accepts that such perceptions are bound to rise in a context where the two separate trials are being presented by the State as part of the interrelated criminal enterprise, “ reads in part the ruling.
He added: “One may thus question whether there are exchanges of evidence or inappropriate discussions between the court and the Director of Public Prosecutions, any outcome from such a trial would lack the legitimacy and integrity pivotal to the inspiration and preservation of untainted public confidence in our judicial system.”
On Pika’s application, Kachale said his spouse is not presently involved in the proceedings, and that the proceedings are about Pika’s alleged involvement in criminal acts.
This is not the first time, Kasambara has demanded the recusal of the presiding as he also recently asked Presiding judge in the shooting case of former Budget Director Paul Phwiyo , Judge Michael Mtambo to step aside but he refused.