President Michael Sata’s Malawian lawyer Ralph Kasambara has been arrested on charges of money laundering amounting to MK55 million, and attempted murder of former budget director Paul Mphwiyo.
Kasambara who worked in the same law firm with Judge Lovemore Chikopa defended President Sata when he was arrested in Malawi and declared a prohibited immigrant from that country, when he travelled there as an opposition leader to meet Malawi ex-president Bakili Muluzi.
President Sata in 2012 appointed Malawian Judge Chikopa to head a Tribunal against three Zambian Judges Philip Musonda of the Supreme Court, and Nigel Mutuna and Charles Kajimanga from the High Court, on allegations of misconduct.
Kasambara who is a former Justice Minister was released on bail on attempted murder charges in a matter that exposed massive looting of public funds in Malawi with connections to the infamous ‘cashgate’ scandal, the biggest financial scandal in Malawi’s history that has affected the country’s relations with donors and caused outrage among citizens.
Allegations of the massive looting of government money became public following the shooting of the finance ministry’s then budget director in September 2013, who was accused of exposing the rampant looting in which police have recovered thousands of dollars from civil servants believed to have been irregulary obtained from government.
According to Malawi’s online publication, the Nyasa Times, Kasambara was arrested and held in custody for the money laundering charges while at the same time he was on bail over his connection to the actual shooting incident.
Kasambara who was arrested in November 2013 over the shooting incident, a was once a trusted ally of President Joyce Banda and is currently an aspiring Member of Parliament.
The detention comes barely hours after Justice Minister Fahad Assani on Sunday told a private radio interview that there was ‘overwhelming’ objective evidence to show that Kasambara was involved in the shooting of Mphwiyo.
According to the Nyasa Times, the government would continue arresting people in the ongoing investigation into the Malawi ‘cashgate’ scandal in which several government officials have been linked to millions of cash, in a large corruption investigation.