Convicted former minister of Home Affairs Uladi Mussa and former regional immigration officer for the Central Region David Kwanjana have applied for bail pending their appeal of the judgement.
Lawyer for the two, Paul Maulidi, said Tuesday it would be unfair for the two to spend years in jail, in case the Supreme Court reverses their conviction.
Last year, Justice Chifundo Kachale sentenced the two to five years imprisonment for abuse of public office and negligence of duty.
Mussa was arrested in March 2017 on allegations that, while serving as minister in 2013, he, and other officials from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services, fraudulently issued passports to Burundians and Rwandese, among other foreigners.
The bail application was heard in chambers in Lilongwe Tuesday before Kachale.
“This right [for bail] is under the law. We have filed our appeal in the Supreme Court and what we are waiting for is the date for hearing. The record is ready but we don’t know how long it will take for the Supreme Court to fix a date,” Maulidi told journalists.
State Prosecutor Kamudoni Nyasulu said the two did not advance any new reasons, apart from grounds they submitted during trial, but added that it was up to the court to decide whether to grant them bail.
Nyasulu objected to the request that the two should be released on bail while waiting for the appeal, stating that the State saw no reason for that.
“We told the court that we see no compelling reason for them to be on bail while waiting for the appeal because we believe the appeal will come soon,” he added.
The court is yet to fix a date for the ruling.
Mathews Kasanda is a Journalist who has recently joined Times Group Newsroom as an Intern. He is an outstanding media practitioner and in 2014, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.