The High Court sitting in Blantyre Friday has found business magnate, Dr Thomson Mpinganjira guilty of attempting to bribe High Court judges sitting as Constitutional Court in the case of the presidential election of 2019. The court has revoked his bail and has been remanded at Chichiri Prison awaiting sentencing.
High Court judge Dorothy DeGabrielle says the court is satisfied with the evidence tendered that Dr Mpinganjira wanted to corruptly bribe the judges presiding over the 2019 presidential election case to be in favour of the DPP and its leader, Professor Peter Mutharika because the party owed him money amounting to MK946 million.
Judge DeGabrielle says Dr Mpinganjira illegally lent money to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) because his TFM Trust is not registered as a money lending institution, calling for an investigation on how the Trust had to lend the money to the DPP.
During the hearing of the case, Dr Mpinganjira allegedly mentioned Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and Dr Saulosi Klaus Chilima UTM Party, as beneficiaries of his money to help them in their campaign trail, but Judge DeGabrielle observed that the donations were made to embarrass Dr Chakwera and Dr Chilima as beneficiaries of his money.
A defence lawyer for Dr Mpinganjira, Tamando Chokhotho in his mitigation asked the court to give the convict a custodial sentence basing on the facts that he is the first offender, is 60 years old, a family man, a widower, has built and supports a number of churches, pays school fees for disadvantaged children and has built a number of hospitals, appealing for a suspended sentence.
Chokhotho also told the court that the convict’s health status is not all that good ever since he suffered from Covid-19 and he needs frequent medical attention praying for a suspended sentence.
In his response, State lead prosecutor, Reyneck Matemba said the suspended sentence is not applicable saying the offence committed attract a maximum punishment of 12 years in prison praying for the court to give the convict that sentence to send a message to other would-be offenders, arguing that the convict, Dr Mpinganjira had he succeeded in bribing the court judges, he could have caused bloodshed in Malawi.