The Dowa first grade magistrate court on Monday sentenced two men to three years in prison for stealing money by claiming to be Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) officers.
The two John Msiska, 41, and Alex Whayo, 36, were answering charges of impersonating public officers contrary to section 99b of the penal code.
Police prosecutor Beston Chimberenga told the court that on 11 January the convicts went to a shop at Dowa Boma and introduced themselves as MRA officials by producing an identity card number 177 and demanded money from the shop owner amounting to K60,000 claiming that he failed to produce a Value Added Tax (VAT) machine.
They also went to another shop and did the same. The total amount of money collected was K133,000.
The court also heard that on 18th January the two thieves went to Dzaleka Refugee camp for the same operation.
“They approached another businessman who got suspicious of them and informed police officers from Dzaleka police unit and the duo were apprehended,” Chimberenga told the court.
The two men later pleaded guilty to the charge of impersonating public officers.
In their mitigation the two asked the court to give them a suspended sentence or to order them to pay a fine since they were first offenders and the money that they obtained was little.
But the police prosecutor told the court to hand them a stiff punishment saying that this was organised crime and they have tarnished MRA’s image.
“Your worship what the two convicts did was tarnishing the image of MRA by showing identity cards of MRA as if they were officials there, something that was not true, they deserve a custodial sentence your worship,” said the prosecutor Chimberenge.
His worship second grade magistrate Ezekiel Kantikana agreed with the prosecutor and sentenced the duo to 3 years imprisonment with hard labour.
Msiska comes from Lumbwe village Traditional Authority Chikulamayembe in Rumphi district and his friend Whayo hails from Mkanda village Traditional Authority Kalembo in Balaka district.