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Court convicts Uladi Mussa

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Chifundo Kachale

The High Court in Lilongwe Tuesday convicted Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice-president for the Central Region, Uladi Mussa, for fraudulently aiding foreign nationals acquire Malawian passports and citizenships.

High Court judge Chifundo Kachale found Mussa and former Regional Immigration Officer, David Kwanjana, guilty on three counts of using public office to the advantage of another, neglect of official duties and altering false documents.

The court has since revoked Mussa’s bail and he has been taken into police custody awaiting sentencing next Thursday October 22.

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Mussa was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in March 2017 on allegation that in 2013 when he was Minister of Home Affairs, he and other officials from the Immigration Department fraudulently issued citizenships and passports to Burundians and Rwandans, among other foreign nationals.

The ACB also arrested Peter Katasha, a Malawian in February of 2017 for claiming that he was related to some foreign nationals who were applying for Malawi citizenship and Pascal Rwasa, a Burundian national, for presenting false information that he was related to another foreign national who was applying for Malawi citizenship by presenting the person as his dependent when the person was over 18 years old and not related to him.

The ACB also arrested Esili Kubwimana, a Rwandese, for giving false information to Immigration Officers when applying for a business resident permit and Malawi citizenship.

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Delivering his judgement, Kachale acquitted Rwasa and Kubwimana in the case but convicted Katasha for presenting false documents.

Throughout the judgement Mussa, who was clad in a dark blue suit and a navy blue necktie, appeared composed and was occasionally spotted sipping water from a bottle.

Mussa and Kwanjana then walked out of the court after the judgement without handcuffs before they were whisked away in a white Toyota Prado on their way to Lilongwe Police Station.

Special State Prosecutor, Kamudoni Nyasulu, told reporters that he was happy with the judgement.

He said the case was based on incompetence, saying the country had people in office who did not know what their duties were.

“What we learn from the Uladi Mussa case and from the testimony of Mosebenzi Zwane in the ongoing Zondo State Capture enquiry in South Africa is that the President as the head of Cabinet, the Secretary to the President and Cabinet and the Secretary for Human Resource as the head of the public service need to ensure that a minister understands the general job description under the Constitution and the Public Service Act.

“Ministers also need to understand the mandate of the ministerial portfolio and the specific statutory duties imposed on the minister by each law in the portfolio and the responsibilities of the Controlling Officer for each law,” Nyasulu said.

He added that ministers need to understand the differentiated strategic responsibility of the Controlling Officer from that of the Principal Secretary.

Mussa’s lawyer, Paul Maulidi, declined to comment on the judgement.

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