The Nkhotakota First Grade Magistrate has sentenced a Malawian man, January Jafali Phiri, 30, to six years imprisonment or to pay a K450,000 fine for possessing 26 bags of Indian hemp.
Phiri was arrested together with Felix Maulidi, 35, but Maulidi was later acquitted after there was insufficient evidence against him.
State prosecutor, Sub-Inspector James Ngusya Muyira, told the court that the convict, during the night of August 31 this year, asked Maulidi to safely keep for him 26 bags claiming that they contained Usipa.
“Maulidi was astonished after the police invaded his house the same night alleging that he is keeping the illicit drug, Chamba.”
“He was instantly arrested and directed the police to where Phiri was residing. The police arrested Phiri and found hemp seeds in his house,” he said.
With credible evidence provided by the state, the court found Phiri guilty on charges of illegally being found in possession of cannabis sativa which is contrary to section 4 (a) of the Dangerous Drugs Regulation and 19 (1) of Dangerous Drugs Act.
In mitigation, Phiri asked the court for leniency saying he has family and businesses which will automatically suffer if he goes to prison. He further said he felt remorseful for committing the crime and repented altogether.
In his ruling, First Grade Magistrate Fred Juma Chilowetsa sentenced Phiri to 6 years imprisonment with hard Labour or to pay a fine of K450,000. The convict has not yet paid the fine and is being kept at Nkhotakota prison.
Phiri hails from Msinje village in the area of Traditional Authority Kachindamoto in Dedza district.