Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Vice President for the Centre, Uladi Mussa could be jailed up to 12 years on October 22, 2020 during sentencing after the High Court has convicted him and two others over abuse of office in the granting of passports and work permits.
Justice Chifundo Kachale has convicted Mussa alongside co- accused persons, David Kwanjana and Peter Katasha for illegally aiding Rwandan nationals acquire Malawian citizenship. He is also guilty of granting Malawian citizenships and passports to over 50 foreign nationals.
Mussa, who was aspiring to succeed immediate past president Peter Mutharika as DPP leader, has now been taken to prison until the sentencing.
The DPP politician has been convicted of two offences, namely, neglect of official duties contrary to section 121 of the Penal Code and abuse of office contrary to section 25B of the Corrupt Practices Act.
Mussa committed the crime in 2013 when he was serving as Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security during Joyce Banda’s regime.
“I find the accused neglectful of duty in respect to various applications and the court’s conclusion is guilty as charged.
“He [Mussa] used his public office for the advantage to the applicants which was irregular submitted and faulty” judge Kachale said in his verdict.
Prominent public prosecutor Kamudoni Nyasulu , who represented the State, reacting to the verdic, described the development as vindication of what they had been arguing in court.
“For those of you who were there at the beginning, we had indicated that this case was really based on incompetence. That we had people in office who didn’t know what their responsibilities were, and the court has just confirmed it,” added Nyasulu.
Neglect of official duties attract a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment with hard labour while abuse of office attracts a maximum penalty of 12 years IHL.
However, maximum sentences are reserved for the worst offenders.
Legal observers say the worst sentence for Mussa would be seven years and the least penalty he would get is a suspended sentence. But a custodial sentence would be inevitable.
Sentencing is at the discretion of the trial judge. Justice Kachale is known for handing lengthy sentences.
The fate for Mussa on the duration of the custodial sentence lies in the hands of Justice Kachale, who is also chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission.
What should also be noted is that courts tend to pass maximum sentences on accused persons when the circumstances of the offence are unprecedented.
Former Speaker of Parliament and Cabinet minister Sam Mpasu was convicted by the same Judge Kachale of the offences of abuse of office under the Penal Code which was a misdemeanour then carrying maximum sentences of 2 years IHL and sentenced to serve maximum sentences which were ordered to run consecutively.
What is also worth to note is that the sentence that Justice Kachale will hand would as warning sign to other public officers.
Mussa was flanked by one of his wives, Cecilia at court and was also accompanied by two of his sons and his long-time friend associate Luguluwe who at some point was his Personal Assistant.
Some of DPP supporters who had come at the court, left immediately they heard the judgement that Mussa has been convicted.
Mussa, a political podium orator since the inception of Malawi democracy in 1994, has served in various cabinet portfolios in the country’s various regimes and he serving as immediate past President Peter Mutharika’s Special Presidential Advisor on Parliamentary Affairs.
Political analysts have described Mussa’s conviction as “the end of his long political career” adding that “it will be very hard for him to bounce back”.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :