The High Court in Lilongwe yesterday sentenced Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice-president for the Central Region, Uladi Mussa to five years imprisonment for abuse of public office and negligence of official duties.
Judge Chifundo Kachale sentenced Mussa to five years imprisonment for the first count and 12 months for the second one. The sentences will run concurrently.
The court has also meted out the same sentences on former Regional Immigration Officer for the Central Region, David Kwanjana, who was answering the same charges.
Mussa was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in March 2017 on allegations that in 2013 while serving as minister of Home Affairs he and other officials from the Immigration Department fraudulently issued citizenships and passports to Burundians and Rwandese, among other foreign nationals.
The court has since ordered that the documents that were unlawfully issued should be revoked.
The court has also disqualified the convicts from holding or being appointed or elected to any office in a public body for the next seven years.
After the judgement, Mussa, who had come to the court composed and without handcuffs, came out seemingly emotional and insisted on speaking to journalists.
Dressed in a black suit and a white shirt with a red necktie, the former lawmaker said: “I am not satisfied with this sentence and the judgment because in any corruption case there is money involved.
“In this case there is no single Tambala (I benefitted) from 2017 up to now, so go and ask them for me, katangale amangidwira a Uladi-yu, ngwa utaka kapena wa usipa [the corruption case I have been convicted for is it involving utaka or usipa [type of fish].”
His statement was cut short when prison security detail whisked him away to the vehicle.
Mussa’s lawyer, Paul Maulidi, said they will appeal against the conviction because they “have noted a lot of errors” in it.
Special State Prosecutor, Kamudoni Nyasulu, said the government side wanted a stiffer sentence and wanted the convicts to meet the costs but the court has refused.
He, however, said he was satisfied with the sentence.
The court has also sentenced Peter Katasha to five years imprisonment for influencing a public officer and 40 months for uttering false documents. The sentences will run concurrently.
ACB arrested Katasha, a Malawian, in February 2017 for claiming that he was related to some foreign nationals who were applying for Malawi citizenship.
Mussa is the second DPP top official to be jailed after the party’s governor for the Northern Region, Christopher Nzomera Ngwira, was also sentenced to three years imprisonment by the courts in Mzimba in a case he was answering pertaining to abuse of Constituency Development Funds.
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.