Rustenburg – Former Malawian home affairs minister Uladi Mussa was sentenced to five years in prison for helping foreigners to obtain a Malawian passport illegally, local media reported on Friday.
News website Malawi24 reported that Judge Chifundo Kachale sentenced Mussa, 55, on Thursday at the High Court in the capital Lilongwe.
He was sentenced to five years in prison for abuse of office and one year for neglect of office. The sentences are to run concurrently, effective October 13, 2020.
Mussa and former regional immigration officer David Kwanjana were found guilty of helping 50 foreign nationals to obtain Malawian passports illegally.
Mussa was also banned from holding public office for seven years.
Independent daily newspaper The Nation reported that Mussa left the court in handcuffs and was escorted by armed prison wardens to Maula prison to begin his sentence.
He was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau in 2017 for fraudulently issuing citizenships and passports to Burundians and Rwandans, among other foreign nationals, when he was the minister of home affairs and internal security under former president Joyce Banda’s administration.
He was found to have authorised the issuing of passports to foreigners.
His lawyer, Paul Maulidi, told journalists that they would appeal against the conviction.
In August 2019, Mussa was forced to resign as presidential adviser on parliamentary affairs following calls on former president Peter Mutharika to fire him.
Mussa, who is vice-president of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), is the second top DPP official to be jailed after regional governor for the North, Reverend Mzomera Ngwira, was sentenced to four years in prison last month for diverting constituency development money for personal use, Malawi24 reported.
Meanwhile, former FDH Group boss Thomson Mpinganjira has offered to plead guilty to corruption-related charges, according Malawi media reports.
Mpinganjira is accused of offering a bribe to the constitutional court judges who were presiding over the elections cases.
He wanted the judges to decide the presidential elections case in favour of former president Mutharika and the Malawi Electoral Commission, who were respondents in the 2019 elections case.
Mutharika and the MEC lost the case and the court nullified the 2019 presidential elections. The two also lost their appeal at the Supreme Court.
Mpinganjira’s bail was revoked and he was expected to appear in court on October 30.
African News Agency (ANA)