Nkhata Bay First Grade Magistrate’s court has sentenced two criminals to 14 years in prison each for stealing money at Meru filling station in the district.
The two stole cash amounting to K16, 570, 000 at the filling station which belongs to Peter Katasya.
According to Kondwani James, Public Relations Officer for Nkhata Bay Police, the two robbed the premises during the night of January 8, 2020 and were charged with robbery which contravenes section 300 of the Penal Code.
State prosecutor Sub-Inspector Pleasant Sichali informed court that the two criminals, Francis Charles Chipi and Mbiri Nkhoma, in collaboration with five other suspects attacked Meru filling station offices after tying up the watchmen and fuel attendants with ropes.
“The prosecutor further told court that the thieves broke into a manager’s office, dismantled a cash safe and went away with money in question,” said James.
He added that investigations led to the apprehension of all the seven suspects and recovery of some money and property bought using the stolen money.
Appearing before court, five of the suspects denied the offence while the two (Chipi and Nkhoma) pleaded guilty to the charge which forced court to proceed with the facts of those who accepted the offence as the rest of the suspects will wait for trial.
In his submission, the state prosecutor Sichali asked for stiff punishment saying stealing such amount of money is tantamount to killing.
In mitigation, both convicts told the court that they look after poor families and asked the court to lighten the punishment.
However, when passing sentence, First Grade Magistrate Robert Makaika told the court that the convicts committed felonious offence which attracts maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment with hard labour.
He therefore sentenced the convicts to 14 years imprisonment with effect from the date of arrest.
The Magistrate further pronounced that the recovered money and some property bought using the stolen cash must be given to the complainant.
Francis Charles Chipi, 35, hails from Kazembe village in the area of Traditional Authority Chikowi in Zomba district while Mbiri Nkhoma, 38, comes from Tchawale village, Traditional Authority Kayembe in Dowa district.