Following her pronouncement of guilty verdict on September 9, 2021, High Court Judge, Dorothy De Gabrielle on Tuesday, October 5, 2021 sentenced financial business mogul, Dr. Thom Mpinganjira to nine (9) years imprisonment with hard labour.
However, the defence, led by lawyer Patrice Nkhono, say they will appeal against both the conviction and the sentence. Nkhono told reporters at the High Court in Blantyre’ that the sentence is “excessive” and that they are going to the Supreme Court to seek redress.
He could not divulge more details saying they will do so after thorough consultation with their client “but we’re certainly appealing”.
Justice De Gabrielle found Dr. Mpinganjira guilty of attempting to bribe five Constitutional Court Judges who were hearing the 2019 elections petition case where the incumbent President Lazarus Chakwera and Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima were challenging the results of the presidential where former President Peter Mutharika was declared winner.
The ConCourt overturned the election results and ordered fresh presidential poll, which were held on June 23, 2021 and Chakwera won.
Meting out the punishment, the Judge said that the offence that Mpinganjira had committed was felony aimed at derailing and defeating the course of justice. She dismissed all mitigation arguments by the convict, among which were that he is advanced in age at over 60 years, that he supports many people financially and ill-health. The Justice dismissed them, arguing the seriousness of the crime far outweighed the mitigation factors presented the the defence.
Justice De Gabrielle stated that Mpinganjira acted with impunity as evidenced in the phone conversation evidence tendered before the court, which confirmed his intention to offer a bribe to the five judges to induce them to rule in favour of former President Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). He also said the convict’s actions were a threat to democracy and the rule of law and impinged on Malawians’ right to freely participate in choosing their leaders.
Mpinganjira, a renowned financial services business tycoon, who also owns one of the leading commercial banks in Malawi, FDH, was arrested in January this year and charged with six counts under the Corrupt Practices Act. He was convicted on two counts, and sentenced to nine years each, which would run concurrently.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :