The Malawi High Court has sentenced a well-known business tycoon to nine years in prison after he was found guilty of trying to bribe judges in an election case.
Thomson Mpinganjira wanted to get the judges on the side of then-president Peter Mutharika, in a case whereby the opposition had challenged a fraudulent election won by Mr Mutharika.
Mpinganjira – one of the richest people in Malawi – was recorded on tape offering financial inducements to one of the judges to influence the outcome.
In 2020 the court eventually ruled there had been widespread irregularities and ordered a new election, leading to a new presidency under Lazarus Chakwera.
In passing the sentence on Tuesday, Judge Dorothy DeGabriele said Mpinganjira had not committed “a mere offence involving dishonesty, but an offence committed brazenly and with impunity” at a critical time in the country’s history.
The court imposed two nine-year sentences on two counts, but the sentences will run concurrently because “the offences were committed in one transaction” according to the judge.