Nkhotakota First Grade Magistrate court on Tuesday sentenced three drivers to 14 months imprisonment for endangering passengers’ lives by carrying them in the back of their trucks.
The convicts have been identified as Emmanuel Matumba, 26, Joseph Chakanyuka, 30, and Bakali Chapola, 28.
The three were arrested in Nkhotakota on Monday this week, according to Nkhotakota Police Station Public Relations Officer Williams Kaponda.
“They were found carrying passengers locally known as matola on open motor vehicles,” Kaponda said.
In court, state prosecutor MacRhino Lungu said the three were arrested by traffic police officers during routine traffic stops.
“The trio were found contravening section 237 (E) of the penal code,” Lungu told the court.
In mitigation all suspects asked for lenient sentences as they were first offenders and have family responsibilities.
But first grade magistrate Fred Juma Chilowetsa said the charge the three were answering is serious in nature as it attracts life imprisonment. He further noted the increased accidents which are becoming worrisome in the country.
“We have recently lost many souls due to drivers who don’t care about people’s lives but rather money,” Chilowetsa said.
“In Nkhotakota alone as of September this year we have registered about 37 accidents according to reports,” he added.
The magistrate went on and sentenced each of the three to 14 months imprisonment with hard labour starting from the day of the arrest.
Chilowetsa further asked the general public to make sure they use recommended motor vehicles on their journeys to avoid loss of lives.
“We are going to strictly enforce section 237 (E) of the penal code. The drivers must be aware of this since all suspects found guilty will go to jail,” Chilowetsa said.
The convicts Bakali Chapola and Joseph Chakanyuka hail from Mtagha and Phangwa villages both from the area of senior chief Malengachanzi while Emanuel Matumba is from Bango village in the area of senior chief Mwadzama, all from Nkhotakota district.