A high court in Malawi’s financial and commercial center of Blantyre has convicted businessman Thomson Mpinganjira of attempting to bribe judges who were hearing a case related to the country’s 2019 presidential election.
Mpinganjira founded FDH Bank Limited in 2008. The Malawian businessman played a formative role in building FDH Group, starting with First Discount House Limited, which began operations in April 2002.
Mpinganjira served as the group CEO of FDH Financial Holdings until September 2020, growing its assets into an MWK235-billion ($289.3 million) valuation as of December 2020.
In January 2020, he was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau after High Court Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda reported that Mpinganjira had attempted to bribe judges overseeing case that would decide the outcome of the 2019 presidential election.
During the trial, the Malawian multimillionaire pleaded not guilty to six bribery-related charges that accused him of attempting to bribe a panel of five Constitutional Court judges, who were ruling on the disputed election.
This prompted the government to parade witnesses who the court found to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mpinganjira attempted to bribe five judges by offering an unspecified sum to overturn the case.
According to the Nyasa Times, High Court Judge Dorothy De Gabrielle, who delivered the ruling on Sept. 10, said the government proved its case against Mpinganjira and she duly convicted him of the charge.
Following the ruling, Mpinganjira was sent to Chichiri Prison where he will await his sentencing.
Mpinganjira is said to be one of the wealthiest men in Malawi.
A report by a Malawi-based news portal estimated his net worth at around MWK172 billion ($221 million).
The figures were not confirmed by the tycoon, FDH Financial Holdings or related entities.