By Benjamin Chisale
Two people in Phalombe have been sentenced to five years in prison each for stealing items worth K1. 4 million from a motor vehicle.
The First Grade Magistrate’s Court in Phalombe on Wednesday handed out the sentence to 30 year-old Jackson Namanja and Rainell Chilupsa aged 26.
The court heard from Police Prosecutor, Sub Inspector Shadrick Wisiki that the pair committed the crime on the night of February 6, 2021 at Bokosi village.
The owner of the vehicle, Wellington Nansangwe, reportedly parked his vehicle and went in the house to rest. Then at about 0130 hours he heard some well-wisher calling from outside alerting him that someone was coming from his minibus which was parked outside the house.
Upon checking his car, Nansangwe got surprised noticing that the mirrors, coil parks and N40 battery plus other items got stolen and a side glass of the vehicle worth about K300,000 was also smashed.
The matter was reported to Phalombe Police Station where investigation was instituted.
On March 6, 2021 in the morning, the convicts were arrested by Yasini roadblock officers from Chiradzulu Police station on their way to Blantyre. Upon being queried, they revealed that they stole the items in Phalombe.
The reporter was called where he identified his stolen property.
The suspects were then charged with the offences of theft from motor vehicle and malicious damages as contrary to Sections 282(c) and 344(1) of the Penal code respectively.
Appearing in court, the convicts admitted to the charges levelled against them. In submission, the State pleaded with the court to give a stiffer sentence to deter would-be offenders.
In mitigation, the convicts prayed for lenient sentence for being breadwinners, as such, their family would suffer.
Passing sentence, presiding Magistrate Damson Banda observed that the state had proved the required justification deserving custodial sentence.
He slapped the convicts with 5 years imprisonment with hard labour for the count of theft from motor vehicle and 20 months imprisonment with hard labour for the count of malicious damage. The sentences will run concurrently.
Namanja comes from Mbodi village in under Traditional authority Mkhumba in Phalombe district while Reinel Chilupsya comes from Nangumi, in Traditional Authority Machinjiri in Blantyre District.