Former Cabinet Minister Henry Mussa sentenced to 9 years in prison over computer theft

By Chisomo Phiri

The High Court Judge Patrick Chirwa has today sentenced former Minister of Information Henry Mussa to three years imprisonment for the offence of conspiracy to steal and six years imprisonment for the offence of receiving stolen property.

On the similar issue, the High court has also sentenced former Director of Information Gideon Munthali to three years imprisonment for conspiracy to commit a felony and six years imprisonment for theft by public person.

The court also ordered that sentences should run concurrently, starting from the date of conviction.

In its submissions, the State argued that the offences were pre-meditated, arguing that there was proper planning and execution of the offence, as evidenced by WhatsApp messages.

But in mitigation, lawyers for the two Kalekeni Kaphale and Powell Nkhutabasa asked the court to consider giving the convicts a non-custodial sentence, considering that they served the nation as public servants; refunded the money for the gadgets; and have been in custody for the last four months.

He added that Mussa’s advanced age may not match with prison conditions.

Nkhutabasa also asked the court to be lenient with the two, saying they were first-offenders, and that Mussa was in ill health.

But the State asked the court to give the two stiff penalties to deter other public servants from engaging in similar conduct.

Mussa and Munthali, who were arrested in connection with the disappearance of 10 computers and a genset donated to the ministry by Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra), were convicted in October 2022 for conspiracy to commit a felony, theft by public servant and receiving stolen items.