The Liwonde First Grade Magistrate Court on Friday sentenced a 27-year-old Liwonde based transporter to 6 years imprisonment with hard labour for abducting a 6-year-old girl.
According to Machinga police publicist Constable Davie Sulumba, the convict has been identified as Frank Namanja who acted contrary to section 78(1) of Childcare, Protection and Justice Act.
Constable Sulumba said Machinga Police Station Prosecutor Inspector Richard Kandeya told the court that the victim’s mother resides in South Africa where she is working and the victim was staying with her aunt at Kachele in Blantyre.
The child had a medical condition and was sent to South Africa for treatment, early September, 2017.
She later got well and her mother met Namanja who is a transporter and he agreed to ferry the child for free from South Africa to Blantyre.
The transporter arrived in Malawi the same month but he did not hand over the child to her relatives.
He then demanded cash amounting to K120,000 to release the girl child.
Her mother sent K60,000 to the abductor but he resisted to surrender her until he got the requested money.
The victim was unlawfully detained at the house of the abductor in Liwonde township for more than two months before she was rescued by police.
The matter was reported to Limbe police on November 25, 2017 and Namanja was arrested on November 26, 2017 by Machinga Police.
When taken before court, he denied the offence of abduction and Kandeya had to parade 5 witnesses to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.
After a full trial, Namanja was found guilty. In mitigation the convict prayed for fair punishment saying that he is a breadwinner looking after his old parents.
Prosecutor Kandeya however asked the court to impose a stiff penalty to the convict that would serve as a warning to other transporters saying the convict also tarnished the reputation of his fellow transporters.
When passing sentence, His worship First Grade Magistrate Jones Masula concurred with the state and therefore sentenced Namanja to 6 years in jail with hard labour.
Namanja comes from Nsamkati Village, Traditional Authority Kalembo in Balaka District.