After being kept waiting for some days by the Mzimba Senior Resident Magistrate’s Court which convicted him, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Regional Governor for the North Christopher Mzomera Ngwira was Friday sentenced to four years imprisonment over abuse of Local Development Fund (LDF) during the time he was member of Parliament for Mzimba Hora Constituency.
Ngwira’s relations and some sympathisers could not help but burst into tears as he was being whisked away from the court premises to begin serving his jail term in prison.
When meting out the sentence, Senior Resident Magistrate Mathews Msiska said most of the mitigating factors that Ngwira presented in court were not convincing for the court to give a lenient sentence.
Msiska also said he has given the sentence as a deterrent to other public officers.
Among others, the DPP Governor for the North, in his mitigation, said he is a family man and has a church.
His lawyer Victor Gondwe said Ngwira has advised him to appeal both conviction and sentence.
“We are still working on the grounds for the appeal but we are definitely appealing,” he said.
While his wife looked calm throughout the court proceeding, some of his relations cried for mercy outside the court.
A few staunch supporters of DPP were clad in party regalia outside the court.
Some DPP senior members who were present at the court included Kondwani Nankhumwa, who is vice-president for the South, the party’s Treasurer General Jappie Mhango and its deputy chief whip in Parliament, Symon Vuwa Kaunda.
Ngwira was arrested in 2018 by the Anti-Corruption Bureau after evidence revealed that he forged bank documents to obtain K650,000.
It was later learnt in court that Ngwira returned K400,000.
Meanwhile, Ngwira and four other persons are also answering a case in which they are accused of allegedly inciting violence at a political rally organised by Malawi Congress Party president Lazarus Chakwera in 2016 in Mzuzu.
The case will resume in court on November 12 2020 Political analyst, Wonderful Nkhutche said Ngwira’s conviction and sentencing is a positive development in as far as the fight against corruption is concerned.
“It is a message to both serving and future MPs to be prudent with public funds. But this is not the end. More has to be done,” he said.
His sentiments were equally shared by another analyst, George Phiri , who said the sentence reflects badly on DPP.
“The impact of sentencing of Mzomera Ngwira is very negative particularly for DPP because vice president for the party in the Central Region is also pending sentencing.
This has reflected very badly on the politics of DPP because it has lost all key leaders across the regions,” he said.
He said the party has alot to do to put its house in order.
“Now DPP wants to replace Uladi Mussa and I don’t know why it has taken them so much time to replace Mzomera Ngwira because his case was first to be prosecuted.
Now looking at his sentencing, it brings lessons to those who are holding public offices because they need to know that when they are in those positions they need to serve the public with integrity,” Phiri said.