A court in Mzuzu on Wednesday found a 33-year-old police officer guilty of stealing tobacco bales worth K11.2 million.
State Prosecutor, Superintendent Christopher Katani told the court that the convict during the night of August 22, 2016 stole 150 bales of barley tobacco at Mzikenge Warehouse.
The bales belonged to different local farmers from Mzuzu, Mzimba and Rumphi.
During the court case, the state paraded 22 witnesses. One of the witnesses was the convict’s co-accused, Samuel Chawinga, 19, who turned into a witness after police dropped his charges.
In his evidence, Chawinga told the court that on that particular day, the convict took him to the warehouse where they broke into it.
He further told the court that they loaded the bales in a lorry and sold three bales at Jenda Trading Centre before selling the rest at Lundazi in Zambia.
Chawinga disclosed that the convict gave him K30,000 to keep his mouth shut.
During the proceedings, it was revealed that the convict used part of the proceeds to buy a Nissan Tilda in Lilongwe.
At the end of prosecution case, the convict entered defence. He told the court he would call witnesses. However, none of the registered witnesses turned up.
In his submission, Regional Prosecution Inspector for the North, Superintendent Lyold Kachosa, asked for stiffer non-custodial sentence to deter would be offenders.
The prosecutor further asked the court to order sale of the convict’s vehicle which police recovered and other property whose proceeds should go to the complainants.
The convict, in mitigation, asked for leniency. He said he has already lost his job by virtue of the conviction.
Meanwhile, the court is expected to deliver sentence on September 25, 2018
The convict who was based at Chiputula Police Unit in the city, hails from Chinseu Village, T/A Chulu in Kasungu.