LILONGWE – A court in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe on Thursday sentenced a former home minister to six years in prison after he was found guilty in issuing illegal passports.

The High Court in Malawi’s Capital, Lilongwe, has sentenced a former minister of home affairs to six years in prison after he was convicted of corruption linked to illegal issuing of passports.

Uladi Mussa, a former president Peter Mutharika’s adviser, was convicted last month alongside a former senior immigration officer.

Chifundo Kachale, the High Court judge who is also the chairman of the Malawi Electoral Commission, said Mussa, 55, abused his public office, neglected duty and uttered false documents.

“I order a sentence of five years imprisonment for being found guilty of abuse of public office and 12-month imprisonment for neglect of official duties. The sentences will run concurrently,” said the judge.

Kamudoni Nyasulu, a private prosecutor engaged by Malawi’s Anti-Corruption Bureau, said the conviction and sentence has set a legal precedent.

“The law requires that a public officer’s actions must not be arbitrary, but must follow the law and procedures,” Nyasulu told reporters outside the court.

In July 2019, the US State Department banned Mussa and his spouse from visiting the country for his involvement in the passport scam.

In a statement, the US said it had acted “following credible information” that Mussa was involved in significant corruption while serving as a Cabinet minister.

Mussa was arrested in March 2017 and his trial has lasted three years.