Man gets 5 years for stealing drugs

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A court in Phalombe district on Monday sentenced a 30-year-old man to five years imprisonment for stealing drugs.

This happened weeks after President Peter Mutharika warned all health facility workers to desist from stealing and selling drugs from public health facilities.

The court heard that Omali Maiteni was cornered on 19 April this year by police who received a tip from well-wishers that he had stolen drugs and was about to board a minibus to Chitakale in Mulanje.

Appearing before the court, Maiteni was found guilty and convicted on his own plea of guilty to the charges of theft from a public office contrary to section 282 (f) of the penal code.

In mitigation, Maiteni asked for a lenient sentence considering that he has the responsibility of taking care of his poor relatives and that he has a wife and kids who need care.

Passing the sentence, Second grade magistrate Lawrence Mangani said people like Maiteni require stiff punishment since this malpractice contributes to the problem of lack of drugs in a number of public hospitals in the country.

“Such cases are now rampant in this country. There is a public outcry that there are no drugs in hospitals because of people like the accused who have no mercy at all. People are dying therefore people like these ones deserve no mercy,” said Mangani.

Mangani then sentenced Maiteni to 5 years imprisonment with hard labour (IHL) to deter would be offenders and protect poor Malawians who are suffering due to lack of drugs in the hospitals.

The convict hails from Lomo Village in the area of Traditional Authority Mabuka in Mulanje district.

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