A 44 year-old man convicted for selling medical drugs pleaded with a magistrate to spare him jail because he has 20 children and three wives.
The man, Tonex Brandnew, was arrested on February 2 at his shop inside Neno market after police from Blantyre were tipped that he was selling medical drugs believed to have been stolen from public hospitals.
When he appeared before Neno second grade magistrate, he pleaded guilty to charges of being found with property suspected to have been stolen contrary to section 329 of penal code and exposing medical drugs without permit an offence contrary to section 45 subsection 1(a).
He however asked the court to give him a lenient sentence as he is looking after his 20 children, 23 grandchildren and 3 wives.
But Neno second grade magistrate Dzowela was having none of it as he sentenced the man to four years and two months in prison.
Dzowela said despite the convict’s huge responsibility, it would not be appropriate to give him a lenient sentence considering the huge quantity of the different kind of the drugs he was found with and that running a drug shop without license from the Pharmacy, Medicines and Poisonous Board is a serious offence and its maximum sentence is a 2.5 million kwacha fine.
Dzowela sentenced Brandnew to 2 years and 6 months in prison for the first offence and 1 year and 8 months for the second offence and ruled that all the sentences should run consecutively.
He did not give the convict a fine sentence considering the seriousness of the offence because in Malawi the supply of such medicine to the general public is free of charge according to section 13 (c) of the Malawi constitution.
Some of the drugs that were found at the convict’s shop and at his house include ARVs, LA for malaria, bacterium, Aspirin, Panado, Penicillin, Doxycycline from Malawian public hospitals and other unidentified drugs believed to be from Mozambique.
The value of the stolen drugs is yet to be known as investigations are still on and the drugs are being kept at Neno Court waiting for conclusion of the case.
Tonex Naluso Brandnew comes from Chifenthe Village, Senior Chief Dambe Neno district.
Meanwhile the court has given bail to three officers from Neno District Hospital who are answering charges of drug theft as they are believed to have been stealing and selling medical drugs to Brandnew.
The three are Calvin Lopanda Kapombo aged 45; James Andrew Ganet aged 42 and 38 year-old Matrida Malino.