Four fined for selling tobacco illegally


Mangochi Second grade magistrate court on Friday fined four registered tobacco farmers for importing tobacco from Mozambique and selling it in the country.

The four were found guilty of illegal trading of tobacco contrary to section 10 as read with section 35 of Tobacco Control Auction Floors Act.

Mangochi Police Station Prosecution Officer lnspector Efford Kamphonje told the court that on the afternoon of August 16, 2018 Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) security officers jointly with Namwera Police conducted patrols along areas bordering Mozambique near Chiponde border in Mangochi following a tip of excess tobacco on the market diluting the industry in Malawi.

Upon arrival at Khwesa village, they intercepted a 10 tonner lorry loaded with bales of barley tobacco imported from Mozambique.

The officers shot in the air twice to warn the suspects who had jumped from the moving motor vehicle to escape.

The team apprehended the four namely Thomson Chimenya (25) and Jafali Rajabu (26) from traditional authority Kawinga in Machinga, Ajaba Awalu (50) of Mwawa village in the area of traditional authority Jalasi and Jeffrey Usuman (36) from Sinyala in the area of traditional authority Bwananyambi in Mangochi.

The officers also confiscated 132 bales of barley tobacco. Appearing in court, all the four pleaded guilty to the charge laid against them.

In his submission before sentencing, Kamphonje pleaded with the court to impose stiff penalties because importation of tobacco from outside Malawi fluctuates the tobacco market wildly that most farmers do not benefit as projected.

When passing judgement, his worship second grade magistrate Augustine Mizaya seized the farmers’ licences and ordered each of them to pay a fine of K50,000 or in default 24 months imprisonment with hard labour. They all paid the money and were released.