United States embassy in Lilongwe has said the conviction of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) politician Uladi Mussa in the passport fraud case committed when he served as Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security in 2013 during the Joyce Banda regime should serve a lesson to all public officers.
Public Affairs Officer for US embassy, Douglas Johnston, comments follows High Court Judge Chifundo Kachale judgement which found Mussa, Immigration official David Kwanjana and Ugandan Peter Katasha guilty on the charge of use of public office to the advantage of another and neglect of official duty.
The judge convicted the trio, but acquitted two others suspected to have benefitted from the malpractice.
Mussa, who served as Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security during the two-year tenure of president Joyce Banda between April 2012 and May 2014, was accused of abusing his office by helping foreign nationals acquire Malawi citizenship and passports fraudulently. The former minister is alleged to have fraudulently granted citizenship status to at least 50 foreigners.
In July 2019, the United States of America Department of State banned Mussa and his spouse from visiting that country for his “involvement in significant corruption” in what an analysts described as a statement to authorities on fighting corruption.
At the time, Mussa, who had just been appointed president Peter Mutharika’s special adviser on parliamentary affairs, said he was surprised with the USA decision because the matter in court was yet to be concluded.
Johnston reaffirmed the US support to the government, accountability institutions and people of Malawi in their efforts to eradicate corrupt practices which among others slow development, impede service delivery and marginalize the vulnerable.
“Corruption poses a serious threat to the well-being of people in Malawi and around the world,” Johnston pointed out.
“The United States supports the government, accountability institutions, and people of Malawi in their efforts to eradicate corrupt practices, which slow development, impede service delivery, marginalize the vulnerable, compromise development support, and undermine democracy.
“Deep-rooted corruption must be exposed and eliminated, by identifying, prosecuting, and punishing all those who engage in corrupt practices,” he said.
The charge of abuse of office carries a maximum sentence of 12 years imprisonment while for one to contest for public office such as member of Parliament (MP) one is supposed to legally have a seven-year wait.
Mussa ecently confirmed his ambition to vie for the former governing party’s presidency to replace Peter Mutharika.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :