The Senior Resident Magistrate’s Court in Mulanje on Thursday ordered 32 people to pay a fine of K10, 000 each each for contravening the Malawi Public Health (Covid-19) regulations.
The state through Sub Inspectors Lawrence Kambale and Kelvin Lichapa told the court that on the said day police officers led by the Station Officer, Senior Superitendent Emanuel Chisoma conducted a special operation to enforce Covid-19 preventive measures. In course of their duty police arrested the said people who were found loitering around without putting on face masks.
Appearing before Magistrate Shahida Hannif Bakili, all of them pleaded guilty.
In submissions, Kambale and Lichapa prayed for a stiff penalty to the convicts to deter would-be-offenders. The two said government put in place the guidelines to protect citizens from the pandemic saying it is unfortunate that some people disobey them hence the need for a stiff penalty.
In mitigation, most of the convicts pleaded for leniency citing various reasons including that they are first offenders.
Passing the sentence, Magistrate Bakili said it is shocking that some people still do not believe that there is Covid-19 and break the preventive measures.
“Covid-19 is deadly but many people remain negligent and break the preventive measures. Further, there are others that still do not believe that covid-19 is real and this is dangerous,” she said warning that authorities will continue enforcing the regulations untill everyone complies.
Bakili therefore ordered the convicts to pay K10,000 each or in default to serve one month jail term. She said this should send a signal to people in the district to abide by the preventive measures.
The convicts have since paid the fines.