Former influential politician Uladi Mussa will have to battle for his liberation while in jail after the High Court in Lilongwe rejected his application for bail pending appeal of his conviction and sentence.
The court sentenced the ex-Cabinet minister alongside David Kwanjana and Peter Katasya, a Ugandan businessperson, on October 23 2020 on various charges under the Corrupt Practices Act as well as the Penal Code.
Mussa and Kwanjana, a former Central Region Immigration officer, were slapped with five years imprisonment while Katasya was handed a prison sentence of four years.
But on November 3 2020 Katasya filed summons applying for stay of sentence and admission to bail pending appeal while Mussa and Kwanjana filed similar summons on November 24 2020. Both summons were in accordance with Section 359 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code.
However, in his ruling yesterday High Court Judge Chifundo Kachale argued no injustice would arise if the three were to continue pursuing their appeal from behind bars.
Kachale, who is also Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson, observed the detention of the three was premised upon convictions entered after hearing evidence in court.
He said the trial court considered relevant sentencing principles when it arrived at custodial terms for the three, and there was nothing that was presented in their applications to move the court to exercise the rare discretion of granting bail pending appeal.
“Therefore, on all these premises, the applications of Uladi Mussa, David Henry Kwanjana and Peter Katasya to be admitted to bail pending appeal are each one dismissed for lack of merit. The applicants shall remain in custody until a contrary order is issued following their appeal,” reads part of Kachale’s judgement.
Mussa, a former minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security during the two-year tenure of former president Joyce Banda, was convicted for aiding foreigners to enter the country illegally and awarding them Malawian citizenship. The offences were committed in 2013.