Viola sentenced to two years in prison

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The High Court Financial Crimes Division has today sentenced former National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) Deputy Chief Executive Officer Gerald Viola and businessperson Chrispin Chingola to two years in prison, overturning a three-year suspended sentences for the two convicts.

The court has handed the prison sentence to the two in Lilongwe today, about a year after they were handed the suspended sentences.

Viola and Chingola were arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in October, 2020 on allegations that Viola awarded a contract to Chingola’s company called Missies Trading to supply 10,000 metric tons of maize worth K3.3 billion to NFRA.

Viola awarded the contract to the company without involving the Internal Procurement and Disposal of Assets Committee.

Last year, the Principal Resident Magistrate’s Court found Viola guilty of abuse of public office and Chingola guilty of influencing a public officer to misuse a public office.

After the two were given suspended sentences, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) appealed against the ruling.

While sentencing the two men to prison today, High Court Judge Anneline Kanthambi observed that the offence committed by the two is a felony and not a misdemeanor hence the quashing of the lower court judgement.

Meanwhile, ACB Senior Legal and Prosecution Officer, Ellen Chandilanga, has told the local media that the new sentence which is effective 26 March, 2024 is will send a strong message to would be offenders.

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