Namisa Blogger of the year 2013,Stimulating the much needed debate

The high court in Lilongwe denies Pika Manondo bail.

 It has since given state 50 days to complete its investigations and bring the case to trial.

 Manondo together with former Justice and Constitutional Affair Minister Ralph Kasambala are answering charges of attempted murder of the former budget director.

Passing her judgment today, Justice Ivy Kamanga said the state has so far proved beyond reasonable doubt that Manondo is indeed a flight risk and that he may not avail himself when the court requires him to do so.

Kamanga said the state also proved that Manondo did not hand himself over to Malawi authorities as earlier stipulated by defense’s submission but rather he was escorted from Kenya and was handed over to Malawi police at Songwe boarder.
She also quashed defense’s argument that the court should consider giving to Manondo as his co-accused Ralph Kasambala and others are already on bail saying each and every case is treated separately and on merit.

The judge therefore ruled that Manondo stays in jail for an additional 50 days within which the state should finalize all investigations and take the case to trial.

It is expected that if state fails to try the case within the 50 day period, the court may start considering bail.

 

In its submission, defense said it is not in order for the state to declare Manondo a flight risk when he handed himself over to authorities upon hearing that a warrant of his arrest had been issued.

Defense argued Manondo demonstrated his character as a law abiding citizen by handing himself over to authorities though he was outside the country on a business trip.

The defense also brought to the courts attention the fact that state has since his arrest pressured Manondo to implicate former Justice Minister Ralph Kasambala in turn of unspecified favors to which the accused denied.

This, defense said,  demonstrated good will on Manondo’s part as someone who would rather see justice taking its course than be blackmailed.

It therefore felt it is only right for Manondo to be granted bail as he remains a holder of the country’s passport and has both family and business interests in the country.

But in its submission, the prosection   felt Manondo remains a flight risk as he went out of the country upon hearing he was wanted.

The state argued  it has proof that Manondo travelled around the country’s neighboring countries not as a business person but as a fugitive who was caught after appearing on Interpol’s red list.

State argued  there is overwhelming evidence to the effect that Manondo indeed shot the budget director hence the need for him to remain in custody as trial will commence soon.

Led by Director of Public Prosecutions Bruno Kalemba, state submitted that Manondo’s release on bail may make it possible for him to make contact with other state witnesses thereby jeopardizing investigations currently at an advanced stage.

Making her ruling, Justice Ivy Kamanga noted that defense, led by John Gift Mwakhwawa failed to demonstrate that the state at one time pressured Manondo to implicate one of the accused, Ralph Kasambala.
She said the fact that Manondo was moved to Kasungu prison does not justify the allegation that he was being forced to implicate others.
Kamanga therefore ruled that Manondo stay in prison for the next 50 days until investigations are complete.

Earlier last month, Police in Lilongwe found over 180 thousand us dollars in Pika Manondo’s custody.

Authorities have since directly connected the money to the shooting of Paul Mphwiyo.

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