Driver jailed for abducting cyclist at gunpoint


A court in Nkhatabay has sentenced 27-year-old Paul Chiwawa to seven years in prison for pointing a gun at a cyclist and abducting him.

Chiwawa was found guilty of three counts; intimidation, abduction and possession of a prohibited weapon.

Deputy Director of Public Prosecution, Senior Superintendent Moja Phiri, narrated in court that Chiwawa, on April 15 this year, was on his way to  Lilongwe via Mzuzu when he was involved in an accident with the cyclist, Austin Nkhwazi.

He is said to have overtaken Nkhwazi, who had a pillion passenger, before he blocked him ahead, resulting into Nkhwazi slamming into the car.

A side reflector of Chawawa’s vehicle got damaged in the process.

This, the court further learnt, didn’t go down well with Chiwawa who immediately turned a pistol on Nkhwazi, threatening him to pay K150, 000 for the damage.

The victim, despite pleading for mercy, was taken into the car and driven to undisclosed place, narrated Phiri.

According to Nkhatabay Police Public Relations Officer Sergeant Kondwani James, Police intercepted the vehicle–registration NA 971–at Mkwiya Roadblock leading to Chiwawa’s arrest and the victim’s rescue.

The firearm was immediately recovered from him.

In his submission, Prosecutor Phiri asked the court to mete out a harsh sentence on the accused, arguing he was a threat.

The convict, however, argued back saying he was a first offender and a sole breadwinner in his family; hence a lenient sentence on him.

Passing sentence, First Grade Magistrate Robert Makaika laughed off the convict’s mitigating factors, describing them as baseless.

He said Chiwawa threatened someone with a firearm, an act which is very rare in the country.

Makaika went on to sentence Chiwawa to two years in prison for the first count of intimidation; 5 years for abduction and 7 years imprisonment for possessing a prohibited weapon. The sentences will run concurrently.

Chiwawa is originally from Kajula village in the area of Traditional Authority Malanda in Nkhatabay District.