The Malawian passport, which Fulgence Kayishema — one of the fugitives most wanted for crimes they committed in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda — that he used to evade capture was issued under the watch of Uladi Mussa in July 2007 when he was Minister of Home Affairs & Internal Security.
Under the leadership of Bingu wa Mutharika, Mussa was then replaced as Home Affairs Minister by late Ernest Malenga who died in 2020 — who served in the civil service as Principal Secretary Office of the President & Cabinet.
Interestingly, Mussa was convicted by the High Court in 2020 and sentenced to six years in prison after he was found guilty of authorization of issuing illegal passports to asylum seekers — alongside a former senior immigration officer.
In his judgement, Justice Chifundo Kachale said Mussa abused his public office, neglected duty and uttered false documents — thus sentenced him to five years imprisonment for being found guilty of abuse of public office and 12-month imprisonment for neglect of official duties and the sentences to run concurrently.
Mussa is now a free man having served three years after President Lazarus Chakwera pardoned him as part of this year’s Easter commemoration.
He was accused of taking bribes to issue Malawian passports between 2012 and 2014 to non-Malawians not eligible for the travel citizenship document.
From 2005 to November 2007, Mussa was Home Affairs Minister and and the passport that Fulgence Kayishema acquired indicates it was issued under Uladi’s watch — in July 2007.
Mussa was arrested in March 2017 and his trial has lasted three years. In July 2019, the US State Department banned him and his spouse from visiting the US because of 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 — but Chakwera went ahead to pardon him.
Kayishema was discovered and arrested in Paarl, South Africa on May 25 and has since been identified as having used Malawian passport to regularly cross into South Africa from Eswatini under a Malawian name Positani Chikuse.
A report by The New Times of Kigali, Rwanda says on May 19, 1998, Kayishema claimed asylum in Eswatini as a Burundian national, using the alias Fulgence Minani while his wife was also registered as a refugee using a false identity.
Whilst in Eswatini, Kayishema began using the Malawian identity to regularly cross into South Africa and on December 21, 1999, he claimed asylum in Cape Town as a Burundian national, using the alias Fulgence Dende-Minani.
The report further said between 1999 and the present, he primarily resided in South Africa and that in early 2000, he was granted a temporary residence permit in South Africa.
“Throughout 2000, Kayishema continued to cross borders between South Africa and Eswatini under the Chikuse identity, to visit his family in Eswatini [and] in 2001, Kayishema was granted refugee status in Eswatini under the identity, Fulgence Minani, and issued a temporary residence permit.”
“He later gained refugee status simultaneously in both Eswatini and South Africa. In this period, however, he resided in Cape Town and worked as a car guard at the Blue Route Mall.
“Until at least 2006, Kayishema was registered as a refugee in South Africa using the name Fulgence Dende-Minani,” says the report.
Just last week, Malawi Minister of Homeland Security, Kenneth Zikhale Ng’oma revoked citizenship of 396 Burundian and Rwandan nationals who were dubiously assisted to acquire Malawian naturalization papers.
The Ministry’s public relations officer, Patrick Botha said the revocation is pursuant to public order and security within the precincts of the laws of Malawi and also in compliance with the Court’s decision in the case of the Republic vs Uladi Mussa and others being Criminal Case Number 2 of 2017.
Botha further said the law enforcement agencies, in their coordinated effort, will be effecting immediate deportation of the individuals concerned.
In accordance with the law, Botha added that the government will continue to review and deprive Malawian Citizenship for all those individuals that did not comply with stipulated legal process.
According to statistics from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Malawi has over 53,000 refugees and asylum seekers.