The Ntcheu Senior Resident Magistrate’s court has ordered a 43-year-old man to pay a K1 million fine for stealing medical drugs.
Senior Magistrate Yohane Munthali told the convict to pay one million kwacha fine or in default serve a three-year jail term for stealing government medicines or allied substance which is contrary to Section 82 (1) of Pharmacy and Medicines Regulatory Authority Act.
The suspect identified as Geoffrey Zamajaya was working as a Volunteer Expert Client at Kasinje Health Centre.
Ntcheu Criminal Investigation Department received a tip that Zamajaya was stealing drugs and the police invaded the accused’s house at Kasinje Trading Centre.
Upon search, 70 bottles of ARV tablets, 11 Viral load HIV Testing Kit, 40 pieces of medical apron, and one medical tape, all property of Malawi Government, were recovered.
In court, Zamajaya pleaded guilty to the charges leveled against him.
And, in mitigation, he pleaded with the court to be lenient when giving its verdict with a reason that he is asthmatic, married and with six kids to look after besides three orphans he also keeps.
But, public prosecutor, Inspector Samie Liwonde prayed for stiff punishment citing lack of essential medicines in government health facilities through such unpatriotic citizens.
Liwonde continued to say that people of the accused’s behavior have contributed a lot to loss of donor confidence to Malawi’s health delivery system.
He also expressed fear that in the near future the nation may register high cases of drug resistant issues in many Malawians resulting from taking in expired drugs administered by such unprofessional and unlicensed people.
Senior Resident Magistrate Yohane Munthali concurred with the state saying that the offence committed is serious in nature and attracts a maximum fine of K20 million and 20 years imprisonment with hard labor.
He then slapped Zamajaya with One Million Malawi Kwacha (K1, 000, 000) fine and if he fails to pay the fine, serve a three-year imprisonment with hard labor.
Geoffrey Zamajaya hails from Kasinje village, Trading Authority Ganya in the district.