A 35-year-old Cameroonian national has been ordered to pay K1.2 million fine after he went to Immigration Department in Mzuzu and presented a National ID card in an attempt to obtain a Malawi passport
The convict has been identified as Ernest Bahti who is a resident of South Africa.
On 28 October, 2021, Baht went to the Regional Immigration North office where he presented a National ID card and asked to be issued with a Malawian passport.
He was arrested and taken to Mzuzu Senior Resident Magistrate Court on Monday where, after trial, he was found guilty of illegal entry contrary to section 21 (1) of the Immigration Act, false declaration for a passport contrary to sect 327 of the Penal Code, and also forgery/false declaration which is contrary to section 43 of the National Registration Act. The third count attracts K1 million fine and five years imprisonment.
Immigration Prosecutor Assistant Supt Paul Lada asked the court to consider giving a stiffer punishment because illegal entry is a very serious security threat to the country, and also the offence of false declaration is serious in nature, because it tarnishes the image of the Department.
Further to that, the prosecutor also argued that issuance of documents of identity to undeserving persons degrades the credibility and trust of the Malawi Passport to the world at large.
In mitigation, the Cameroonian pleaded for lenience from the court saying he was the first offender, has two wives and eight children, and owns a transportation company with a fleet of trucks and employs about 35 Malawians. He prayed for a non-custodial sentence.
In his judgement, Senior Resident Magistrate, Maulidi sentenced the convict to pay K25,000 for the first offence, K200,000 for 2nd count, and also K1 million for the third count.
The court ordered that, if he fails to pay the fine, he should serve a 6 months jail term for each offence, to run concurrently. Meanwhile, the convict was yet to pay the fines.
In a related development, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Service in Mzuzu has arrested five Burundians for illegal entry.
The five are; Ndimurukundo Eric, 21, Nintunze Cloken, 23, Ntahiraja Theogeus, 21, Ntakirutimana Claude, 21 and also Nyishuyogusenga Elyse who is in his early 20’s.
They were arrested on Monday 1 November, 2021 in Old-Katoto-Mzuzu upon a tip from the well-wisher who notified the Department after being suspicious about the people.
They were boarding a Toyota Voxy registration number BY1041, and the driver who abandoned the suspects is currently on the run.
The suspects will answer charges of illegal entry contrary to section 21 (1) of the Immigration Act. They are currently on safety keep at Mzuzu prison awaiting trial.